Our friends are also new to Franklin. And thank God they did not tell us how much they absolutely LOVED it and fit right in because if they had it would have made my spring roll a lot less appealing. No, they too were trying to find a place, a purpose, a person, to make them feel like they are home. We sat there and talked a long time about friends. Making them, keeping them, wanting them, praying for them, needing them. We talked about how women especially need friends and how ridiculously terrible most of us are at making friends, new friends, real friends.
We discussed how much easier it would have been to just stay in our comfort zone in the same little town or big city that we grew up in and have our play dates with our Stephanie and Samantha. With the women that know us, that love us, that already know the secrets and the wounds and mistakes and love us anyway and more because of them. But instead we both were in Franklin TN, lost and lonely if we were completely honest. And isn't that what has kept us from making new friends? Honesty and openness either on our part or the part of the women we have tried to connect with. Society has done women an injustice with TV shows and Hollywood magazines. They have made us all think that unless we are completely together 100% of the time we are failing as wives, mothers, daughters, and friends. But honestly you and I both know that no one is completely together 100% of time and most of us would take 45% if we were telling the truth.
We meet new women and we smile too much. We tell great stories of smart kids and beautiful new homes. We talk about how much we love our mom and how we married the best man that ever walked the face of the planet other than Jesus (and let's be honest there is only one Shawn Hall so the rest of you are clearly not telling the truth) :). We drink coffee, swap recipes, compliment one another on the immaculately clean house that we are standing in as we eat banana bread that tastes so good that we could eat the whole loaf. Instead we eat a piece fit for a two year old and comment on how we still have five pounds to get rid of and waste a perfectly good loaf of yummy banana bread!
What is wrong with us!! First of all, you and I both know that 30 minutes before you got here I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to clean the kitchen, bake the bread, fix my hair and put on make up. I was stuffing everything I could find in closets and bribing the kids with everything in the house that had sugar in it begging them not too mess up for at least 20 more minutes! I swept and dusted only the areas that you could see and if you pulled back the shower curtain in my ridiculously clean bathroom (that I finished wiping down as you rang the doorbell) you would see two dirty washcloths and 15 toys in the bottom of it. Ten minutes before you got here I was on the phone with someone in my family who had either pissed me off or driven me crazy and there were two dirty diapers on the ottoman in the den that still had not made it to the garbage can from when the kids got up three hours ago. Neither of my kids slept through the night, I am exhausted, my husband has not been home in time for dinner in a week and the overhead light in my kitchen still has not been fixed and it is driving me nuts!! There is pile of clean clothes in the closet that you just walked by and the laundry room door, well it is closed for a reason. Don't even get me started on my weekend that was full of drama from extended family, sick kids, and eggs and grits for three out of four meals. This my friends is real life.
Real life is peanut butter covered kids that need there butts whipped more often than not. It is dishes in the sink and clothes in the floor. It is breakfast for dinner because we are just too tired to cook and poor to eat out. Real life is temper tantrums at the most inconvenient times, poopy diapers in restaurants, parents that drives us nuts, spouse that don't always make the right choice, kids that don't always listen. Real life is dirty bathtubs, messy hair, boobs that will never look right again because we nursed our babies, saying good bye to a six pack of abs and hello to the tankini. Real life is messy and sad and funny and scary and completely dysfunctional in different ways for all of us just like God meant for it to be. So why are we all pretending it is something else?
The truth is that without other women I would lose my mind. I need friends. Real friends that know what it is like to have a baby and what it does to your body. Friends that understand why it doesn't matter if I have 5 extra pounds or 50 it is still hard and still frustrating to buy new clothes. Friends that have had days when their husbands have made them cry and their kids have made them feel like they have failed. Friends that have PMS, that pray for babies, that cry at negative pregnancy tests, that feel like they are losing their minds at their job whether its at home or at an office! Friends that have toys and wash cloths in their bathrooms and don't care if my kitchen is clean. Friends with whom I can share my life, my fears, my joy and my faith. We all need these friends and if you ask me we should all work harder at being this kind of friend.
~ FRIENDS ~
As we walk our path of life,
We meet people everyday.
Most are simply met by chance.
But, some are sent our way.
These become special friends
Whose bond we can't explain;
The ones who understand us
And share our joy and pain.
Their love contains no boundaries.
So, even we are apart.
Their presence enhances us
With a warmth felt in the heart.
This love becomes a passageway,
When even the miles disappear.
And so, these friends, God sends our way,
Remain forever near.
Life is too short to waste our time pretending. It is meant to be shared and enjoyed with the people around us. I don't believe that God means for us to befriend every woman that crosses our path. But I do think that if we are real with one another and true to who we are, He will send the right women at the right time in the right season.
”A woman’s heart plans her way, but the Lord directs her steps.” Proverbs 16:9
May the Lord bring you just the friend that you need in the New Year. And when He does, I pray that you will do less cleaning and eat more banana bread ;)