“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.” Jon Katz
The photos for today’s blog post were taken during a special dinner prepared and served by my girls and their friends for all of the parents. My girls have grown up with these kids and they are bosom friends. You too can enjoy a fun event like this with your friends.
Within the heart of Anne Shirley, of Green Gables, stirred the deep longing for a meaningful relationship. She dreamed of, “A bosom friend – an intimate friend, you know – a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life.” She found Diana Barry, a type of person we all need.
An investment of time we should include in our lives, is in building meaningful relationships. Quite often the relationships in our lives are merely the other “over-busy” Mamas who are involved in the same activities in which our children are involved. It is difficult to establish a long-lasting friendship while sitting together watching your little ones tumble around in gymnastics. The seasonal camaraderie at sporting events usually ends after the final game,. Dropping kids off at the same lesson at the same time also doesn’t leave much room for bonding.
Invest in a relationship. Make some intentional friends. We are all busy. No one seems to have time, but this is so important. Very few of us have deep meaningful relationships. They are truly rare and a special gift. So many of us feel lonely, but we accept it and tell ourselves, and others that we are just too busy. Stop it! You are important! You need a friend with whom you can confide, someone to encourage, and you need her to encourage you as well.
When I was a girl, I remember two other stay at home Moms who lived on our block. My Mom met regularly with them, and they had tea and chatted. I have always wished for that simple time that my mother enjoyed. In today’s world, however, everyone is so busy that it is hard to find someone else who will make the time for you. You can start to wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” Nothing is wrong with you. You are a lovely, entertaining and sociable lady. The problem is wide spread. True relationships are becoming rarer. We are going to have to search for them. We are going to have to apply ourselves. A true bosom friend is not going to just fall in our laps, however, investing in others will reap a harvest of some true relationships.
People are usually waiting for an invitation. If we all are waiting to be invited, who will do the inviting? The ball is in our court. It is up to us to be the pursuers. We tend to think that because no one is inviting us, everyone else already has what we are longing for. That is not the case. We are all sitting at home thinking everyone else has friends, except for us. Be the one to reach out. Be the initiator. Do not be discouraged when others use the famous line that they are just too busy. Do not take it personally and shrink back. It is too easy to become hurt and offended. We can incorrectly judge someone’s busyness with rejection.
You must remember how you felt when you still lived in the whirl of craziness. Others may be just too overwhelmed to consider a relationship at this time. That is when you can plant seeds of friendship. Show kindness. Send cards of encouragement. Choose to inspire overwhelmed potential friends. You will reap a wonderful harvest.
Many churches and organizations offer, “Moms Night Out.” Many mamas eagerly jump at the opportunity to escape. These are great opportunities to begin to develop those lacking relationships. Take advantage of these times as a starting point to develop some relationships that you can enjoy. When you find a possible Diana Barry, set up a time when the two of you can get together. Go out for coffee, lunch or dinner. Enjoy a shopping trip, take an art class together, read the same book and get together to discuss it, or share a weekly prayer time together. My favorite is a long chat out on the porch.
Just because we are grown does not mean we no longer need a girlfriend. It is funny that we do so much to accommodate our children’s friendships, but we get the silly notion that there is no time for our own relationships. There will be times when we need to make an effort to facilitate these relationships, and I do mean effort. Schedule conflicts may seem to occur repeatedly, but don’t give up.
One very enjoyable, “Moms Night Out” for me, took place unexpectedly years ago. My kids and I had taken a short trip from Indiana to Ohio. My sister was visiting her bosom friend and I was returning my visiting nephew to her. My plans were to make a quick trip. I was going to spend one night and then head back home quickly to my, “To-Do” list. But as I floated on a raft in her pond, my determination seemed to float away with the waves. When my sister suggested that I stay one more night, there was no need for arm twisting.
That evening, we finally got our room full of kids tucked in, and lights turned out. It was late and we were all tired, but I had seen in the paper that the night was ripe for meteor viewing. The annual Perseid meteor shower was in full swing.
Quite often when you read about astronomical events, they always seem to occur late at night or very early in the morning. Many times, I have every intension of gazing at these events, but my desire for sleep is stronger than my desire to see some stars. This time I was determined to stop and smell the roses, or at least look at some stars.
We grabbed cozy blankets and headed to three lawn chairs in the middle of the yard, in the darkness. For two hours we talked about countless topics. We ooohed and ahhhed and giggled and laughed. Every time a shooting star streaked across the sky, we spontaneously ooohed and burst into laughter, I wondered about our friend’s distant neighbors. I wondered what they may have thought about the fits of giggles exploding now and then into the cool damp darkness. We sounded like a group of teenage girls, not the 40-something worn out mamas we were.
At the time it did not seem like I had time for a “Girls Night Out.” My oldest son’s wedding was a week away, but moments are waiting to be lived in the midst of our plans. I was refreshed in a country pond and I will never forget one of the best, “Girls Night Out” I ever had.
At the same time the following year, we met at my home. This time our families did not want to be left out. Everyone, kids and husbands too, headed to a nearby grassy field. We all just lied on the ground, stared at the sky, laughed, ooohed and ahhhed. Our “Girls Night Out” turned into a family affair.
Another night that I remember very fondly was the pajama party I had for four special friends. My idea of a pajama party is not one where I spend the night in a sleeping bag on the floor. My bones are too old for that. I just wanted a party with my girlfriends; one in which we all wore our jammies. We felt like kids again. Of course we ate, then played games. We drew questions from a hat, and were forced to share our deep dark secrets. It was such a special evening, and I am so glad I took the time to do this.
One of these times with friends took some planning. The other only took a few chairs and the sky. The commonality of these two events was taking the time to invest in relationships. You don’t need a star filled night or a pajama party, however you should make the time for yourself and relationships that really matter.
Dianna Barry is out there. Go find her!
NOTE: This group of 8 friends has been a great example for me as they have determined to be very intentional. As a group, they created a bucket list of things they wanted to do together before life starts to take them in different directions. This dinner was one of the items on their bucket list. Next on the schedule is the amusement park. You too need to be intentional with your friendships. Follow these kid’s example and create your own friend bucket list.