Thursday, June 18, 2009
Ahhh. The fellowship of women.
I've been surrounded by it my entire life. All of the kids who lived on my street growing up were girls. I had great friends in high school. And then I went away to a small college in Indiana and joined a sorority. Which meant I ate, studied and slept with women (in a space the size of a shoebox), 24/7.
But then I entered the real world, where it is hard to make new friends. Which I never really had to do, because every other new stage in my life was shared by hundreds of other gals going through the same thing. Friends I had in high school were friends I made in elementary...and I don't really remember how or why we met or what kept us friends, but it probably had to do with sharing some sort of snack or being invited to a birthday party. Or talking on the phone for at least one hour every night...I seem to remember a lot of that. And ta-da...instant BFFs. College was much the same, only this time it was some article of clothing being shared, with some form of cheap beer, and definitely a garlic cheeseburger involved, I'm sure. Oh, and did I mention that we lived in a SHOEBOX! Because that is surely a way to get to know someone...real well.
But adulthood. That's a tricky one.
In the absence of an obvious common ground, or a room similar to the size of a mouse cage, friendships come much more difficultly. It takes some searching. Some effort. I so apologize to all of the friends I have ever had before the age of 26...was I ever intentional with you? Did I pursue you and did you know that I VALUED your friendship??
Because I think I sucked at being a friend until then.
I think I went along with the flow and worried I would miss out on something. I think I tried to be what you wanted but paid very little attention to what you needed. I was insecure. I was selfish. I expected a lot from you and yet was too emotionally insecure to give much in return.
And then I had children. And it was a humbling experience, and I realized that I would never have survived that experience without women who were real, and honest, and vulnerable with me.
No shocker then, that women are kind of a passion of mine, because I'm pretty sure there are a good percentage of us who long for female friends, but have no idea how to find them, or are too intimidated to pursue them, or have a million excuses why not to put in the effort. Which all boils down to, I think, a fear that we have of putting ourselves out there are being met with some sort of rejection.
Perhaps I am wrong. Or misjudging. It's just a hunch.
Women are great at listening and sympathizing and encouraging and enjoying each other...we have a good time together and yet can talk ourselves out of making the time, and taking the steps to really build a strong and lasting relationship. Family saps our energy. Work is demanding. It's hard to get out of the house. It's easier to keep our friends casual. There will be time when our kids are older.
And I say that, because I have the same tendencies. The same ability to second guess myself. To think there are a million reasons why not to be friends with me.
Crazy, I know. Because I am awesome. Just kidding, are you still awake????
Any-hoo...this summer I have been coordinating a women's fellowship night for our church, once a month. Tonight was our second shin-dig, and it was awesome. Lots of women of all ages gathering to chat and eat, and listen to a speaker talk about the "community" of women. Which doesn't just happen...it needs to be intentionally pursued. Intentionally. Great friendships don't just happen, girls.
So what I love is that both of these get togethers have brought a lot of women out, women I see every Sunday, but have never approached or spoken to, because I think we need something in common, someone to introduce us, something to make it okay for us to know each other. Women who are older than me with so much wisdom to impart because they have walked this path. Women who are younger than me (Egad! When did I age?) who could use the friendship of someone who has survived the first years of marriage and children.
Women are amazing. Especially when we aren't second guessing ourselves! So ladies! Pick up the phone, drop a note in the mail, comment on someone's facebook page, join us in July when we do it all over again!