I am blessed with good women in my life. That's all there is to it. This week, my birthday afforded me an overflowing measure of time spent with some of the best folks in the world, so my heart is tender as I think about friendship.
The best kind of friendships are the ones that simultaneously allow one to feel completely whole and accepted as is but also inspire one to do a little more, be a little better and reach a little higher. In the rarefied atmosphere of true friendship, one finds the quiet satisfaction of feeling indulgently cherished even while seeing in others the characteristics that lead to a desire to grow. When you have people around you who love you the way you are, it naturally leads to feeling secure enough to rejoice with others' triumphs, rather than feeling threatened or competitive. I am so grateful for the circle of friends that has grown up around me right now. (If you care enough about me to be reading this blog, then that gratitude includes you. Thank you for being part of my life.)
I have the privilege of associating with a large number of women who I truly love and admire, but that I feel safe with and equal to. We are all on the same journey of faith and discovery, and we are all at different points in the journey. This reciprocative characteristic of friendship was not always so obvious nor so easy for me. It has always been easy for me to give friendship-to serve, to accept, to help, to listen. It has only been in the last few years that I think I've learned to receive friendship-to share, to let myself be vulnerable, to trust others with my whole self. It is a good feeling.
This quote sums up what I am experiencing:
"Oh, the comfort���the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person���having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away."
by Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik (1826-1887)
from novel: A Life for a Life, 1859
This birthday week will always be memorable to me because I felt cherished, valued and loved among people who I feel the same way about. That is evidence that growing older and having birthdays really is a good thing because 10 years ago, I might have been younger and thinner, but I don't think I was nearly as able as I am now to participate in friendship so fully and so joyfully.
Here's to reeling in the years.