Mu is taking me out for lunch today. It's an early birthday gift. We're going to an Italian restaurant known for its delicious food and warm environment. It'll be so good to see her- because it's been almost two weeks since we've last had a get together. Oh, we've talked by phone and in person, but it's always better face to face, and especially with a delectable food-ish or coffee aroma wafting under our noses as we talk. And talk.
In a couple weeks, I'm going to be teaching a workshop at Church on one of my favorite subjects: Friendship. I have not always felt like this was a subject I've done well with. It's only been the last ten years of my life that I took a high road into the terrain of heavenly friendships. I'm not the Friendship Expert, mind you, but I have learned a lot in the last decade about what makes a healthy friendship, what are the characteristics of a good friend, and how do I find and make a friend when I'm starting from scratch.
Everyone is talking about Friendship, lately- or at least trying to depict what it is. Chick Lit has sprung up as a whole new genre, describing the urban, sizzling adventures of polished, professional women. Recent new T.V. shows have groups of women- high powered executives- sharing the details of their lives with each other and looking like they have a tight friendship. But I don't know- something smells fishy in a lot of these story lines. For one thing, what is in vogue, now, are women who look promising, powerful and professional. That leaves out over half of American women! (Not that many of us aren't promising- but few of us lead that high powered a life, that glitzy and Gucci a life where money is no object, children are attended by Nannies, and wearing the latest designer delight is your hallmark).
Most women I know- who would be candidates for friendship- wear baby's drool on their shoulders or have lines on their faces from the wear and tear of mothering, they wear slip on flat shoes (lest they throw their back out from wearing high heels!), and they wear a pair of jeans and a clean shirt that is hopefully not too wrinkled or outdated. Even the professional women I know don't look all that glitzy and glamorous. Remember, a full time make-up artist, on hand, helps you achieve that look. You don't look that good- the way you see women on T.V.- without a lot of primping and painting and pfluffing and posing!
So, before we can talk about what a real friend is, what real friends are like, we've got to forget the Glitz and the Glam and get down to brass tacks. What a women wears is no indicator of how she'll be as a friend. The brand of her handbag, the color of her hair, the designer of her jeans- they can't tell us a thing about a woman's soul, really. Sometimes these things reflect her financial challenges, sometimes they reflect her lack of time spent reading fashion magazines- but they certainly don't reflect whether she has the capacity to be a true-blue friend.
As my 13 year old daughter comes home from school each day and shares the highs and lows of her day with me, I am so aware that this all-important topic of Friendship she is just learning about is going to impact her life significantly. We need to lay a good foundation here. A good friend makes you feel like you can take on a big challenge. A person who you thought was your friend and who betrays you or hurts you, can make you feel unsure of yourself, unsure of wanting to open up again. We've all heard that saying, "With friends like that, who needs enemies?!".
I would love to know how you all feel about the topic of friendship. Do you have great friendships, and have you always had them? Have you learned recently how to be a friend or make a friend? Do you struggle with this area? Did you learn about making friends from watching your mother? Has the Church been a place where you've made friends easily? Is it important, to you, to have close friendships?
Leave your comments. I'm listening. Really listening.