Riding Life!

Riding Life!
Life is like a wild horse--Unless you ride it, it will ride you! (from the movie: "Princess of Thieves.")

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

V: Musings and Meanderings: I Wonder

I was thinking recently about the importance of friendship as I left a baby shower. We had such fun at the party; there were family and friends all together in one room, and the gregarious part of me enjoyed it all. Later that afternoon one of my co-workers and I visited another friend who was recuperating at home from a biopsy she had recently. I had a great time sharing a drink and meeting her family. I couldn't help but think how much fun heaven will be with fellowship that never ends and where there are no biopsies, or divorces or loss of any kind. I don't think heaven will be a boring place where people float around on clouds, playing harps--but I wonder - what will it be like? Will we have work to do, friends to visit?--My finite mind grapples with its limitations of understanding.

When life grabs me by the ankles and threatens to pull me under with defeat and despair, it is without fail my friends who I turn to. Believe me, the Lord hears my lamentations first, but I do believe that He provides us with treasured friends to help us cope with what life throws at us. When we are drowning in that sea of despair, it is our friends who throw us a lifeboat. It is they who I commiserated with over wayward children, they who offered wise counsel and advice and gifted me with their prayers.

See the photo below of my paternal great-grandmother Ada Cull Turner with her group of women friends. (She is in the front on the right side in the tiered dress). This photograph was probably taken sometime in the 1940's. I remember my mother telling me that my dad's grandmother had a circle of ladies she met with every week. Sometimes they played bridge or canasta. Often they would sew embroidery projects or do a spiritual study. But I suspect that they also commiserated over wayward children, offered wise counsel and advice and gifted each other with prayers.

Fast forward almost sixty years and see this photo of my group of friends at my friend Robbin's sons wedding last year.

Do you think that women today feel more freedom to share personal information with trusted friends? I wonder if there was more social stigma regarding personal problems that precluded openness and honesty with friends sixty years ago? A kind of sweeping the dirt under the rug and pretending everything was wonderful scenario? Maybe, but I don't think so. Today we struggle with substance abuse, divorce, and families alienated by technology, but our grandmothers faced childbirth fraught with many dangers, such as infants who often did not survive, epidemics that wiped out many family members.

My mother-in-law once told me that her parents had lost their first two children, a son age three and a two year old daughter in the same week. They died from dehydration during a flu epidemic. She said that her mother, could never speak of them without tears. A speaker at a women's retreat I attended told a similar story. Her mother had lost two children in one week from a flu epidemic, and was so ill herself that she could not attend their funerals. Her mother said that in the weeks that followed she numbly tried to tend her now quiet and empty home. One day as she stood at the kitchen sink looking out the window, she distinctly heard a voice say: "Kill yourself. You have nothing to live for". She discerned that it was the enemy of her soul, and she said that the evil presence was so real, that she turned and threw her dishtowel at it. Then she untied her apron and walked the block to her parent's house so she would not be alone. Without the support of friends and family, how did women hold onto their sanity and overcome despair?

I hate to end on a maudlin note, so I hope to encourage you with this: We are blessed who have trusted friends to share our lives with. Friendships enrich our lives and bring so much joy. Sharing the burdens of life with friends helps to make the unbearable, bearable. And finally, let me shout! If you are too busy to spend time with your friends and nurture these vital relationships, you are too busy!

So tell us, how have friends enriched your life?


Zuzana said...

This was a beautiful post that spoke volumes to me.
I hinted at a similar subject a few weeks back with my "Love and Friendship" post.
I agree with you hundred percent, friendship as vital as the air we breath. I am alone very much and I can feel in the past few years this has started to tear on my otherwise strong psyche. I have never before realized how much it means just to be touched by a friendly hand; it is like energy transfer of some kind, or also that which we call love.
I found that story that a speaker at the women's retreat told you fascinating and intriguing. In todays world where there are so many peole alone it is no wonder that many perish by their own hand.
Beautiful images as well, thnak you for a very poignant read this morning.;)

KathyB. said...

I wonder if women have all along comforted each other, and prayed for and equipped each other for whatever comes their way? Friendships and relationships like you have illustrated are precious and not to be taken for granted. So often we women can be each others' worst enemies all in the name of "friendship", but I wish for friends like yours. I think I really do have them in my sisters, and my daughter. I suspect some of my sisters in the church are also...but way too often I have found my trusted friends are really 'not-to-be-trusted' friends.

Maybe I should try to be that kind of friend regardless of said friends' attitude and behavior. To honor my Lord, and also the spirit of camaraderie and friendship that really does bind and heal.Thank-you for this post. You do have treasures in your friends.

Vee said...

Interesting thoughts...as for the women of old and how much they shared...not sure. I do know that my grandmother was not an "open" woman and never shared many of her heartaches with her friends. So I think that there was an element of needing to be stoic.

Such sad stories about losing children within a week of each other. This reminds me of a story that I must tell on my own blog one day and stop telling so many stories in comments. Ha!

Here's to friends! Tight-lipped, kind ones especially!

panamamama said...

What a great post! Thanks.

Kelloggsville said...

I like the idea of throwing a dishtowel at an evil prescene. It sort of puts me (her) back in control. True friends are the salt of the earth but sometimes they are hard to find.

Jenny said...

Aunt Vicki,
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on girlfriends! I also really enjoyed the picture of great great grandmother Turner.

Vickie said...

What a lovely post, V! I can honestly say that I have my own group of trusted, longtime Christian friends that I can go to. Those bonds of friendship grow deep among us when we bear each others' burdens and laugh and cry with each other through the storms of life. I personally DO think it matters that my friends are Christians, too, because I know I can count on them to direct me in that vein. Good post!

Happyone :-) said...

I have gone through some hard times and friends have made all the difference. One day I was feeling pretty bad and was praying. Before I was finished the phone rang and it was a friend asking if I wanted to go out and have lunch. I'm convinced that God sent her to me right at that time. :-)
I think women have always shared feelings and hard times. It's what women do.

KathySue said...

This reminds me of the scripture in Ecclesiastes, "If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" We all need someone to pick us up at times...and sometimes it just has to be girlfriend!

Jill said...

Wow, this is SO TRUE...we get too busy...and then we get lonely...we must have friends to confide in and seek out in good and bad times.

Excellent reminder. I needed to read that. Thank you.

Packrat said...


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