I'm feeling a little under the weather this morning. A nice hot pot of Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup sounds heavenly to me on this dreary, cold and rainy day. But I'm out of celery.
I think I went about 10-15 years not really having any friends. I mean, I had "friends," people I knew, people from church, people from bible studies, the occasional roommate, coworkers, etc, but no real, close, emotionally or in vicinity, friends. That was tough. Really tough. I'm a person who needs people, feeds off people, draws my energy from those around me. Largely extroverted, and definitely a verbal processor, it was challenging to me emotionally and spiritually. I met my husband during that time, which helped, but he, being highly introverted, and a guy, and my spouse, did not fill all the needs I had for true, deep, honest, real and raw friendship. Then I had five children. And I live in a small town away from all my other "community." Talk about isolating.
Even before I met my husband, I prayed and prayed for friends. I dated "the wrong guy" for two years too many just because I was lonely. I had lost the intimate, and in some cases any, connection with friends from high school and college, and while my year in Spain helped form new connections and span the bridge, I was still alone. I thought even God had abandoned me. I cried out so. many. times. but felt like my cries were not being heard. Why was I suffering? Why was I alone? Why had everyone, including God, abandoned me? What was wrong with me? I longed for a partner, but yet had to watch all these younger kids pairing up and getting married, some even starting families. My heart cried out in desperation.
So husband and five children in a small town where everyone knows everyone except me, I don't know anyone except my neighbor who was busy with her own large herd of children, another mom "phone friend," and thru my awesome church, I had found enough community and connection that it staved off the extreme loneliness and desperation. I made a few connections, however superficial, with other preschool moms, so that helped too. I still dreamed for that friend who lived "next door", who had kids of similar ages, who I could hang out with in our pajamas for coffee, or do laundry together, watch my kid in a pinch, take walks with, just live life together, share our faith together. While I dreamed of it, I didn't crave it the same way I had. The problem is that we're all so busy. No one, adults with families and jobs and lives, has the time to invest in building that kind of relationship and intimacy. It's hard enough to work on our marriage relationship and family relationships that we often don't have the energy, and so many people build up walls creating this image of a perfect life that they have a hard time being real. But I'm not a beat-around-the-bush person. I will tell you honestly what I think, and honestly what is going on in my life. I just don't have time for all the bull-crap.
Then, two years ago, something happened.
I met TWO people. Both completely separately, both completely different relationships. And it is definitely a God-send.
One friend has boys. And she trained for a 5K with me. We occasionally have drinks at one house or another, laughing til the wee hours of the morning. We talk about faith. We kid-swap. We get real. I can be honest and blunt and I love love love that she's honest and blunt too.
The other friend has girls. She's also the Girl Scout leader and does and AWESOME job at it. We fill our bored and lonely SAHM hours talking on the phone while doing dishes. We scheme. We do "dance mom" together. We carpool. And kid-swap like crazy. She is creative and spurs me to create. We laugh and joke. We talk about tough stuff.
Not to devalue the other friendships I have, because those are important too. What they contribute to my life, and I to theirs, is very important and has it's own special place. But the proximity factor here allows for us, my two home-town friends, to share life. To help each other out. Because as I stopped to get cough drops for a child at the gas station, I ran into one friend who lost her phone. So she used my phone to call the other friend (who does daycare for her) about an early drop off. And since that other friend was in town, I called her later and asked her to pick up celery for me, and she then asked if I could watch the other's kid since she was going to be late. So I ran down to her house to alert said friend and get the child, and we all three ended up meeting at my front door. I love this. I love my life. I love my friends. I fell so utterly blessed and I thank God daily for these two awesome women.
And now I am going to go make some wild rice soup with that celery. With a smile on my face.