Chicken Soup for the Soul
I have two special friends – they aren’t couple friends or family friends – they’re my friends. And although we don’t get to spend as much time together as I would like, I cannot begin to explain the feeling I have when I’m with them. The best way to describe our relationship is through the word “unconditional.” There is never an ounce of judgment, disapproval or “I told you so.” Instead acceptance, care and love are what graces this alliance.
Looking at the three of us, we might be labeled a motley crew of sorts. Our age span is greater than twenty years, and while we are all educators by trade, we have each taken our unique paths after leaving public education. Two of us are grandmothers, all three of us have taught at the college level, we all have incredible husbands, our family means the world to us and we share a strong faith. And, while each proclaims to be “gluten free,” we love our coffee, cocktails and wine. Surprisingly, our differences are as strong as our similarities. Blessed with unique personalities, our tastes vary as do our personal styles. But when we’re together it works. No, it’s better than “works.” It’s splendid.
Over the years the three of us have shared stores of sadness and joy, comforted one another through hardships and illnesses, and celebrated each other’s milestones and achievements. We’ve witnessed our children’s triumphs and stumbling blocks. We cackle, snort, and act incredibly childish. But we also offer each other space, a shoulder to cry on and a hand to high five. Never once have I regretted words said in these women’s presence. I can be honest within this group, share secrets and reveal portions of myself that I rarely show to others. I can be who I am – the good, the bad, the ugly - and they still love me despite of my shortcomings.
Our time together is beyond nourishing. Even if nothing monumental is discussed, whenever I leave these two lovely ladies, I feel nurtured, whole, refocused and ready to tackle whatever lies ahead. Whether we laugh, cry, debate or just listen, there is always some sort of internal movement that allows the rest of my day to flow more smoothly. I feel rejuvenated – plain and simple.
I guess they are the definition of true friends. Thinking back on how it all began, we connected in a non-conventional way. We didn’t become friends because our kids went to kindergarten together or because our children played on the same soccer team. Nor, did we find each other because we lived in the same neighborhood or exercised at the same gym. Yes – we all worked in the same elementary school, but not simultaneously. It seems that as soon as we met, we liked and respected one another for who we were. Once we realized that we had a connection of sorts, we then cultivated this bond. Years later, we are as close as we ever were. I would walk on hot coals for these women, and I believe that they would do the same for me.
In no way does this negate any of my other friendships that I treasure so dearly. I feel incredibly fortunate for all of the women in my life, and I so appreciate each one for her inner beauty. I remember reading that we have multiple friends for various reasons. There are people who we go to in times of crisis, others for fun, and some for counsel. Rarely can you find someone who can fill all of these shoes.
But with these two, perhaps I have. I would bet my last dollar that the three of us were sisters in another lifetime. And as an only child, I have no idea what it would be like to have a sister, but if I could pick two candidates for this role, it would definitely be these incredible ladies. Maybe that’s the part that these two individuals play for me. Perhaps they fill a void in my life, offering me a perspective of the extraordinary bond that can occur with female siblings. Regardless of the purpose of our relationship, I know that being together is like chicken soup for my soul. I feel uplifted, energized and elevated. They make me want to be a better person, to be more like them.