“. . . and I pray that they will be surrounded by friends who love them, encourage them, and walk along side of them through their journey. Friends who will help them discover, and let them be, exactly who they are. Amen.”
Each night between 8 and 8:30 I nestle in beside either Charlie or Chanelle before putting them to bed. The book of the evening has been selected and a little blond head rests on my shoulder while we read. As their eyes begin to droop and mouths open wide with exhausted yawns, I whisper a quick prayer similar to the one above. It’s nothing exceptional or extravagant. . . it’s just one of my greatest hopes for them.
“May they have good friends.”
Of course there are many, many things I want for my kids. What parent doesn’t? Health, stability, passions, success, direction, to name a few. . . but these fall far behind that friendship thing.
I will admit, however, that I only see these things from my perspective. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman. Perhaps it’s a part of my DNA. Is it possible that I have a “relationship tank” that must always be on full if I am to be content?
My dad recently told me, “Summer, you haven’t met an inanimate object that you don’t want to have a relationship with.” (Funny man he is. . .or so he thinks.) That might be a slight exaggeration. . . slight. . . but I truly believe that life is about relationships. I’m not talking about 800 Facebook “friends”. I’m talking about the “I’ve got your back and I’ll be there in an instant whenever you need me. . . or even if you don’t” kind of friends. The kinds of friends that walk beside you even when it gets messy.
While I’ve always valued my friends, this year has been the year when I really “got it.” When things got rough and I didn’t think another step was possible. . . that’s when my friends stepped in. It was almost as if they, very subtly, placed their hands under me and with one big HEAVE. . . they lifted me up.
The lifting up happens in so many ways. Sometimes it comes like it did this morning when I answered my phone and heard a dear friends voice say, “How are you doing as you approach the one year anniversary?” Or a greeting in my inbox that says, “Just checking in. . . “ Or I am lifted up by what I call “Friday’s with Lisa”. Other times it comes in the form of a short visit from friends from afar. Visits that are way too short, but still leave my soul filled to the brim with contentedness. Just this week, I had two of those visits.
|It is a good friend who allows herself to be smothered by 30 stuffed animals.|
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have really come to understand that these friendships are my lifeblood. It has been the sensitive listening ears, the constant encouragement, and the cheering I’ve heard along the way that have helped me not to just survive this year. . . but to thrive in it.
(This is not to say that husbands aren’t wonderful (I adore my husband) but I’m talking about same sex friendships, here.)
As much as I’d like my kids not to have to struggle in their lives. . . I know that they will. As much as I long for them to have direction. . . I realize that, at times, they will feel confused. As much as I hope that they find success. . . I know success is fleeting. And as much as I want them to find stability. . . I understand that there are no guarantees.
|Charlie’s utter joy face.|
Their lives will not be without heartache. No journey is. But when they struggle, when they feel confused, when they fail and and and feel insecure. . . it is my hope that they will have a soft place to fall within the safety of strong friendships. I don’t think I can be convinced otherwise. . . I think it matters. I think relationships matter. . . I think they matter a lot.