I have been blessed with many wonderful comrades who cheer me on. The cloud of witnesses around me is not all departed people, thank God!
Real live folks can be so incredibly sustaining and we need them. Are you introverts listening? All you need is a crisis to make you value your connections. If you don’t have any, it would be best for your happiness and life-satisfaction to start cultivating connections. (I think this is especially true for women, although obviously, I have no experience from the male point of view.)
We are designed to be nurturers, taking care of each other, not just our children. Sociologists have long noticed a link between a woman’s reported happiness and the support that is received from other women. This is especially noticeable in what they call primitive cultures, where women often report being quite happy despite obvious poverty, lots of children, and no professional careers.
It is depressing to be all alone, and yes, our husbands can listen and support if we are fortunate enough to have them, but hormones understand hormones. (I feel like I just said something profound there.) Even the Apostle Paul said something about the older women teaching the younger how to live (love their husbands and keep their homes happy). I get the feeling that this is walking along beside them like coaches just as much as it is special meetings where an older woman teaches her wisdom.
We shouldn’t be embarrassed to own that intuition that tells us someone is in trouble or could use a bit of extra loving. Nor should we be too proud to say, “I need some help with my thinking today. I am sinking here. What would you do (any given situation…)?”
This is what my friends meant to me in the last two weeks. If you recognize yourself, this is my thanks to you.
- A hug and a sincere “wish you well” in passing. That feeling that she cares about my world.
- A real snail mail card.
- Seeing someone from way back when and catching up a bit in those easy conversations that flow between old school friends.
- Sharing opinions about dress patterns and is it really “easy” like it says; getting to stroke someone else’s fabric stash.
- A question, “How are you?” coupled with the time to hear the answer.
- A thoughtful conversation about whether it really is important to raise children in a village, or is it okay to just go it alone; reflecting on what the village means to your own self.
- A text and a word of kindness. “Hope your day gets some sunshine.” Just like that, it does, even when the sky stays grey.
- A latte out of the blue, and a box full of groceries that my children dig through excitedly, immediately asking to break open the bag of chocolate chips.
- A cup of tea shared over stories about life, mine and hers, even though we are in drastically different seasons.
- Facebook messages heavily punctuated with animated stickers, something only a few people may enjoy, but when you find that friend, you go on sticker hunts to make their day hilarious.
- Coordinating schedules so that we can get together and chat while our children play.
- Talking with and over each other, and getting what is being heard and said at the same time.
- A smile when your eyes meet across the room in church, because you are genuinely glad to see that her sick child is better and she is glad yours is better.
- A quick phone call that turns into a visit about so many little things that crowd the day, and it just helps to sort them out.
- Telling that slightly pungent story that you really just have to pass on to one person so they can enjoy the humor with you, since the children didn’t get it and your husband isn’t home at the moment.
- The safe place where you can express exactly what it is that is wearying your very soul at the moment, and knowing that you are now held in prayer.
- Feeling that you are not alone. There’s a whole cloud of witnesses and you are on the way together.
(pexel free photo)