Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Women Friends

Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix.
Christina Baldwin

All humans benefit from the gentle touch of a friend, but women cozy into each other in an almost magical way. We form a sisterhood that links us one to the next, bonded by mirrored images of one another in different stages of development. Men are often threatened by the relationships we share, some even do all they can to isolate us from one another, but that only increases our need for female understanding. Some day I hope to have a best friend who is male, but he will not replace what I share with anyone else. And if he is smart he will not seek to steal the place another earned, but will seek a place that belongs only to him. I am a proud member of the sisterhood. The email that follows says it all quite nicely. Women reading it will nod in instant understanding, I challenge men to take its words to heart.

A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her Mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter.
"Don't forget your girlfriends," she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. "They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you'll have, you are still going to need girlfriends. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them. And remember that "girlfriends" are not only your friends, but your sisters, your daughters, and other relatives too. You'll need other women. Women always do."
'What a funny piece of advice,' the young woman thought. 'Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple- world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake! - a grownup, Surely my husband and the family we'll start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!'
But she listened to her Mother; she kept contact with her girlfriends and made more each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her Mom really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, girlfriends are the mainstays of her life.
After almost 50 years of living in this world, here is what I've learned:
Times passes. Life happens. Distance separates. Children grow up. Love waxes and wanes. Hearts break. Careers end. Jobs come and go. Parents die. Colleagues forget favors. Men don't call when they say they will.
BUT girlfriends are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girlfriend is never farther away than needing her can reach. When you have to walk that lonesome valley, and you have to walk it for yourself, your girlfriends will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you. Or come in and carry you out.
My mother, sister, sister-in-law, "sisters", extended family, and friends bless my life! The world wouldn't be the same without them, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still. Pass this on to the women who help make your life work. I just did.