I have spent the last several days in conversation with a couple of girl friends as we plan our annual girls’ get-a-way. We met when I was a sisterhood coordinator and writer for a girlfriend magazine. They came along side of me as I worked my way through various work related projects, then as we all joined Sisters on the Fly we were able to spend more and more time together. Showing up for one another in various ways over the years…
As I sat at my kitchen table, looking out into the blustery morning, I found myself asking,”What makes some friendships work for a life time, and others not?” I have experienced them both. Some just seem to stick like a favorite sweater, or a blanket in which it’s warmth never fades.
These friends of mine; we are very different girls. So the answer, as to how or why it works, isn’t obvious to me at first. My mind went wild as I spent time playing with all the reasons we are friends. I laughed a little. Cried a little. Yet, wondered why it is, that I cannot recall even one time where things felt dicey or as if it, the friendship was threatened in any way, I am sure there must have been moments. All relationships go through these refining moments, if they are going to last. What I discovered is this….
There is no attachment assigned to the gift of themselves that they give.
No walls. No Judgments. No ego. No expectations other than mutual trust and respect. They have the amazing ability to walk a long side. Not needing to lead, or to follow, but just one line of girls, arm in arm, walking through life.
I had this awe ha moment, as I sat watching the wind whip the apricot tree’s branches, out side of my window. While, I use to take great “pride” in the fact that my friends are so eclectic…. I discovered today, they really are not….
Sure, from the exterior we look like an eclectic mess…. from the jet setting corporate, to the hobby farmer and everyone in between….each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Their own sensitivities and convictions. Passions and pet peeves.
As eclectic as we are, the sameness is; that there isn’t a sense of, “if you don’t do what I do, then you are wrong.” With each of these girls there is the freedom for me, to be fully me. They understand that I am fiercely independent. They “know it” because they are, too. While I would never dream (or survive) if I tried to make them feel wrong, or less than, or not as smart as, if they chose a life, a thought, a direction differently than I did. In fact we all do. In all of those areas we are vastly different.
I love that we can safely debate the issues over a glass of wine, go away free to make our own choices, knowing full well our success will be celebrated even if we find them on another path . We are wise enough to leave each other the needed room to make our own mistakes, without the “I told you so’s”. Smart enough, too, to leave ourselves room to change direction, if we discover we are on the wrong path, discovered by watching the other walk on the right one. Humble enough to take counsel in one another when we are lost. Brave enough to ask for forgiveness, when we have been wronged and graceful enough to forgive completely.
Distracted by the rain dipping off the rain gutter… the barking of the dog in the back yard, and my own funky mood…. I paused for a moment. Grateful for it all. As I stared back down at the computer, I am reminded of the many things these girls have done for me, and parts of themselves; things that they have created and sent to me, that was given so freely. Not done in a way, that can leave you feel indebted but completely embraced in loved, tethered to nothing.
They lift me up ALWAYS. But, they aren’t smoke blowers. Rarely will you hear them throwing out compliments in the public forum. No need, as they have been down in the trenches with me… They have been on the other end of the “phone” talking me through it…. They have no need to have things look a certain way publicly….they don’t care, for they know who we are, and who they are to me. Yet, they celebrate and promote me, brilliantly.
You will never hear them sharing my weaknesses ever.. or me theirs. It isn’t that we don’t have them, we just don’t focus on them. We see them only as starting points, a place to look back on in the weeks and months to come, so that we can remind each other where we started. Our vulnerabilities are safe in the care and keeping of each other.
These friends have taught me well. It is so easy to get caught up in the ones that for whatever the reasons, cross my path unwilling, unable, or not ready to be this kind of friend. Maybe they are sent so that we are more grateful of the ones who are ready to take the journey with us. Locked arm in arm, not willing to fall behind, nor feel the need to lead, in full understanding that we each have a path to walk, none more important than the other. None better than the other. Just girls, being girls. And celebrating all that, is in the journey.
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