Canadian poet Merle Shain understood love. She declared: “If I were to marry again tomorrow, I wouldn’t give up one friend. I’d take them all with me as a sort of dowry and tell my new husband that he was getting a rich wife.”
I’ve always wondered about girls and women who leave their friends behind when a man steals their heart. I don’t get it. What I loved most about The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood was the life-long friendships. Their husbands got a handful!
Last weekend I sat with three women whom I haven’t known long, but already feel that I know well. The breadth of self-disclosure was stunning, the honesty was liberating, the awareness motivating.
I’ve been thinking since about friends—the ones who bring me real joy, what makes them so valuable, and how they touch my soul with such depth, again and again.
There is always genuine interest, good conversation, and enjoyable companionship. We share similar values, but experience and beliefs different enough to be interesting, provocative, and moving. There is empathy and authenticity.
Those who love me most will tell me when I have peas in my teeth, and when I am wrong in my thinking. More, true friends inspire me to be and do my best. They mirror my strengths, and equally, my weaknesses. They’ll let me wallow for a while when things go awry—and they listen completely—then goad me to seek solutions. They nudge me to venture into new territory, and cheer me on whether I stumble or thrive. They laugh at my jokes. As a Native American friend would say, “They give me thunder.”
They are my champions. They give meaning to my life.
And I have the honor of doing the same for them.
Friends and family are oxygen for my soul.