Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When Counting Blessings—Count Your Friends

I walked into church Sunday and heard someone call out “Hey, girlfriend!” Looking around, I spotted a woman from last Wednesday’s “Girlfriends Guide to Christian Living” class.

Her greeting made me smile with the memory of the evening spent with a new group of girlfriends of all ages. Last Wednesday, we listed the qualities of a girlfriend. The leader, Jo Perusich, wrote them on a whiteboard. The women called out: Honesty, Loyalty, Steadfastness, Can keep a secret, and Bathroom Buddy.

“Bathroom Buddy. I love it!” Jo said.

“Yes,” said the youngest member of the group, Bethany. “When you go to the bathroom, she gets up without you asking so you don’t have to walk across the room by yourself.”

Jo asked us several thought-provoking questions and we were to write the name of a friend and the incident. When we finished, she asked what we had discovered.

“I was surprised that I thought of certain people as friends,” said one woman.

“I noticed the same name came up several time in different roles,” said another.

The homework assignment was to connect with a girlfriend and tell her that you considered her a blessing, a gift of God, and how much you value the friendship. I thought about this and had an old friend in mind.

Sunday morning, I sat beside Sheila, the Memory Walk Coordinator, and shared the news that our walk total was now more than $18,000. After the services, she and I talked all the way to the lobby where we parted. We hugged each other, and suddenly I knew who I needed to share the message with. I took her hands, looked her in the eye, and told her that she was a real blessing in my life.

She got tears in her eyes and said, “You don’t know how much that means to me.”

I am so thankful that Jo challenged us to put into words how precious friends are to us and how much our lives are enriched through giving and receiving the love of friends.

When Jim developed dementia, I lost my best friend in the world. He was the person who always had my back, was always on my side, no matter how misguided I might be. Strangely enough, it was because of Jim’s dementia that my circle of friendship grew.

First, I became closer to my other female family members as they pitched in to help me. I became close friends with women I met through my Alzheimer’s volunteer work including three women I met in Washington DC. We called ourselves the four musketeers. My connection with these women—Jane from New York, Sarah from Virginia, and Kathy from Maryland—would never have happened if I hadn’t gone to the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Forum.

The friendship circle grows through my involvement in writers groups, in my business women’s group, and through work and work-related conferences. We have limitless opportunities to grow our relationships with friends. With each new friendship we open up our hearts to the blessing of giving and receiving.

In this busy, busy world we may not have as much time for friends as we would like. It is amazing how much a lagging spirit can be rejuvenated by squeezing an hour from our schedules to spend quality time with close friends.

copyright (c) October 2010 L.S. Fisher


Carol Noren Johnson said...

We need those friends, don't we. Yesterday I talking by phone with someone in CA whom I hadn't communicated with in years. Now I live in FL, but we decided to keep up with each other by phone and e-mail. She is in a retirement community and I told her people she could hug for me also.

L S Fisher said...

Yes, we certainly do need our friends. It is great to keep in touch with our long distance friends too.