Thursday, March 04, 2010

1. Be There

Oh good, you're here! I am glad you are on time, because I wanted to make sure you got the heads-up on this post... it's a little heavy on the pithy cliches. Such is life, can't be helped, lah-tee-diddly-dah.

The first thing about developing loving friendships is you have to decide that they are valuable. More specifically, that quality relationships with other humans have value to you. I am hoping that my last post established a few reasons why this is so for you, but even if you are not all the way "There" with the "Why I Should Make Friends With Women" thingummy, or even "Why I Need Friends," this really is one of those things that you can take on a fake-it-till-ya-make-it trial basis.

You don't know the fake-it-till-ya-make-it? It means you just suit-up, show-up, shut-up and do what you are told. The proof is in the pudding. You will gain the testimony in the doing. Really. Really-really.

One of the first things about Being There, is being who you are and where you are in the time of your life. Face it, the kinds of friendships that a seventeen year old, senior year in High School you could manage are not the kinds of friendships you will be able to manage as a part-time-work-at home-mother-of-two. Heck, the kinds of friendships you desire will simply be different and the things you have to offer as a friend have changed. But you still need friends, and in some ways you need them more as you get older. Not necessarily more in terms of time, just more in terms of surviving the life experiences coming your way with grace and joy. Or maybe just surviving them. Period. So look at your life, and while being realistic please do carve out some time and energy to developing these sweet relationships.

Be There. Be where you are in space, now look around you with your minds eye. Who are the women who inhabit, or are in some way physically close to your sphere of life. Do you go to the gym, church, work, shop for groceries, take the kid to the park? Who else is there doing the same things? Who lives down the street or the next floor up? Maybe you come up with faces and no names, or names from a PTA roster, but no faces to go with. Perhaps you live out in the sticks, miles from any one else.... even still, open those peepers and look! I am talking about women here... not just women who dress like you, or seem to be about in the same place you are in your life. I am talking about old women, young women, poor women, wealthy women, jocks, fashionistas, artsy farsties. Women. Quit being so incapacitatingly picky! I am not saying you shouldn't be picky about your friends, I am just saying open up those doors to possibility, especially at this part of the process.

There are so many ways of being friends, and so many way we nourish and sustain each other.

When you have the good fortune to interact with these friendship possibilities, or with established friends alike you need to as much as possible, BE There. If it's at all feasible, turn off your phone or screen you calls if you must when visiting. Be there, by letting the kids take turns giving each other pushes on the swing while you take the time to catch up with a friend. Be there by giving some thought every now and then to think of a nice thing you could do for or with a friend. Don't be planning your dinner menu in your head while your friend is talking, be THERE.

Last of all, when I was serving an LDS mission, I had a mission president who explained that there were two main types of people in the world. There were the kinds who, in essence will walk into a room and say "Here I am " in any and all of the ways that short sentence can be said.

HERE I am!
Here I am!
Here I AM!

and then there are those who walk into a room and say, in all of it's various ways of being said:

THERE you are!
There YOU are!
There you ARE!

Guess which kind the Saviour was?


elizasmom said...

I love this! And I needed to hear this because the urge to cocoon is too much with me in the winter...
And boy howdy is that last bit about what kind of sentence you say a good thing to carry with me. I fear I am too much Here I am! and I strive, imperfectly, to be more There you are! all the time. I feel a response post coming on, but I am going to shut my yap for now and let you finish speaking...

Mama D said...

Does reaching out on the internet count? Some of my best friends I met that way. :)