Saturday, July 16, 2011

Girls's night - for a night or a lifetime?

Image from thehotzoneonline.com

Salsa, guacamole, Mexican pizza and three good friends make for a great night!

Last night I had the great opportunity to have dinner with my friend Sue and Sally. It's been over a year since we had all gotten together. Sue and I live in the same community, but Sally spends majority of her year with her family serving in mission in Ethiopia. If you want to check out the work she and her family are doing there, go to Baer Essentials.

While I love a accessibility and ease of communication that comes from the internet and facebook, there is something totally lovely about sitting down to dinner with dear friends: the kind of friends that you're amazed to be sitting with over nachos and celebratory margaritas, because they are such wonderful people.

I've been thinking a great deal about friendship lately, especially those friendships between women. Having gone to school in Pennsylvania and having most of my extended family from the Pittsburgh area; I've always experienced a degree of separation from my roots. Although I've lived in the same general community for several years, I've had to start over in many friendship within that community due to my vocation and the pace of change in it. Having a close friend for a long time for me at the most is about twelve years - and that would be Sue, one of my dinner mates from last night.

There are groups of ladies I know that have a much longer history than twelve years. They have grade school and high school, college and now family that are all connected by a sense of familiarity that astounds me. I find myself wishing for more of those roots and I don't think I'm alone in this desire for these kind of connections. There are many people out there looking and needing that deep and sincere sense of community. While I've been working on making greater effort and time for existing friendships and fostering new friendships, I've been astounded by the need I see for it in others as well.


Image from blog Matters that matter.

The desire for community, for roots, for authentic friendships that go beyond what we wear, or eat or drink or buy - is one that many people have. We all have a desire to belong. In part, I think that one of the reasons I write is to feel a sense of connection and community. Anne Lamott has a wonderful way of say more on this...

"Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They depen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship."
— Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)

Having wonderful people in your life to fill the chairs at a table in a Mexican restaurant is one way of fostering and meeting that need for connection and community. Blogging, for me is another. Some of the most beautiful moments of my life are ones that I did not expect to happen, but they did - in the kind words commenting on a blog post, a handwritten note or a phone call at just the right moment. We all need friends.

Going out for a Girl's night is something new for me. For a long time, I did not take time for friendships as an adult. But as I listened to a woman talk about the rooted friendships they maintained from childhood, I became more aware of the loneliness and sadness I felt because that tree was missing from my own life. So, I'm learning to tend and plant some trees of friendship. Not for the ends of collecting friends, but for the joy in the journey of rooted friendship.

As we all know, but sometimes forget, "Joy is the best makeup."(Anne Lamott); and we need to allow time and space for the joy of rooted friendships to grow stronger and taller than we ever could imagine. I believe, that taking part in a lifetime of "girls nights" might be a step in the direction towards fulfilling the need for roots that so many of us have.

Painting Friendship Redefined(Abstract in Oil pastel)© Jitendra found at blog paintingsilove.com.

We all need some roots. Hot salsa might just be the unexpected friendship ingredient that I've been looking for. How about you, how do your friendship roots grow best?

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