I was meeting with a group of ladies from my church this week. As the meeting ended, I stopped a few of them. "Could we talk a moment? I need you to pray with me about something."
I had been carrying this concern underneath my Brave Face for many weeks. Sometimes -- even in a loving church family -- we get so accustomed to putting on that Face that we fear putting it away for a moment. I'm happy, but in this one area of my life I was troubled, and nearing the end of what I could bear alone. As I began to speak, their eyes filled with tears.
Unknown to me, unknown to one another, we were each braving through a similar 'concern' in our personal lives. We shared, we prayed, we cried and hugged.
"Call me," they said, when things got tough and I needed a friend.
"I can't call you -- you work all day and I know you're tired -- like I am -- when you get home. And you, you have all those kids," I joked. "I would never call you with my problems."
We girls went to college, we went to work, and we got Busy. Now we take care of our homes, our families. We're active in our church. We serve, we do good things. But along the way, we forgot to cultivate the art of the girlfriend.
These days, of course, you can effect the essence of a friendship via texting or social networking. "Busy-ness' is our well-worn excuse. But sometimes a girl just needs to vent one-on-one, pull back the mask, and let the snark escape.
Perhaps an emotional core-dump is long overdue, and needs to be affected in the safety of folks who will love you in spite of. When the emotional whirlwind has passed, there's nothing like having a friend who will whip out the Kleenex, clean your face and insist you reapply your mascara before you go back out in public.
It's these interactions with other women which keep us from doing real harm to our husbands.
I left the meeting feeling buoyed. Man, I thought I was the only one in this boat. Weird, but comforting to know I was not alone.
Our husbands do not want to hear this stuff. They want to be known as our Best Friend, but many hope secretly the moniker won't mean they will have to talk about our feelings -- or worse, their own. We know full well our good-guy husbands are not wired this way, but I forget.
"Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
There's a wonderful lady in town that I bump into fairly often as I'm out and about. I've known her for years, but haven't spent any significant time with her. I had that chance recently, and within 10 minutes she said what I had also suspected, "I've always thought we were kindred spirits," she said.
"Let's have lunch next week."
"Yes, I'll call you."
After a month, I ran into her yesterday. "I meant to call you."
"I know, I meant to call you too."
We are each sincere in this, but I've been Really Busy.
Lord, teach me the art of being a girlfriend. Help me build relationships in which I may be a blessing to others, bolster and provide support and be supported as I move closer to you.
I'm going to call you this week, dear friend.
-- Tracy Simmons is a features writer for the Times-Gazette. She may be reached at (931) 684-1200, ext. 217, or by e-mail at email@example.com.