Sunday, January 13, 2013

What All Women Desperately Need

Coffee gurgles invitingly from the kitchen on my left, while jade plants hang low to the right of me, heavy with new growth. 

She came this week, on a night of icy rain. Glass image shards of her face flickered from corners of my glass-cut front door.

"It's hard to make friends sometimes," she murmured over hot citrus tea.We spoke of middle school and family moves, finding commonality in frequent goodbyes from our past. She and I laughed over husky cold voices and nagging coughs, grabbing runny-nose tissues.

"It's worth it -- this hurt of another goodbye. Friendships are," I said softly, a truth harvested from my own life. She agreed and swirled her tea. We talked more, laughing and getting to know each other.
- - - - - -
Another day this week, I raced out the door, juggling a platter of hummus and veggies, a crystal bowl of chocolates, and map directions to a friend's new house. Arriving breathless and late, I shrugged off my jacket, and grabbed them for tight hugs. "I've missed you!" I exclaimed into sweet-smelling hair.

Four young women idled in a pumpkin-hued kitchen and dining room, stirring creamy mac and cheese, assembling elegant cheeses on a plate, and dipping decadent truffles.

"We used to have a book club, but no one really read the book. Well, just two of us did. So then we changed it to a Pinterest party, so our husbands feel like we're being productive," she joked, "but really we just get together to eat food and talk." She went on to speak of a few projects that emerged from their times together, but you could see the deep camaraderie and history these women shared. Babies were passed and updated on with cheerful intimacy. Hugs and jokes were frequent and warm. At one point of the conversation, tears broke out among the four of us with relaxed naturalness, followed by laughter.

I nibbled on salty slices of romano cheese, and slid into creamy bites of brie. Over orange pepper slices and hummus, we spoke of lives, marriages, in-laws, and family. Having watched most of these women grow up over the years, I was proud of them, saw them as equals, and was humbled to be invited to join them. "We should invite So-and-So to join us," they mused among themselves, already seeing ways to spill out into others' lives. I grabbed some more blue brie before heading home to relieve my babysitting-daughter.

- - - - - -
Tonight I join two old-time friends of mine. Over fabulous salads and sandwiches in a two-storied glass restaurant, we will watch the cars and pedestrians pass by in the dark streets below. A red and green fluorescent dragon will arch his back against the building across the street, and we will unfold our lives together.

These friendships between women... we all need them. We can all start them, or continue them, or spill them out to others around us. Ask God to give you his eyes to see the people around you, then grab your calendar and your phone. "It's worth it"-- the time, the risk of pain, the investments. It's worth it.

Have you seen these two older posts on friendships? "Of Fires and Friendships: And How Do You Be a Good Friend?" and "Of Friendships and Peanut Butter."

Photos from Microsoft clip art.


Anonymous said...

So worth it! We were glad you could come!

Elizabeth said...

Agreed! So needed!

Jayne said...

Friendship is so important. With such busy lives we must make an effort to pursue them. God created us to have friends. said...

One of the elements desperately missing from my life these path three years is the common bond of in-the-flesh friendships. We're a fairly transient family, so it's getting harder and harder to reach out and make these connections, especially when the response on the other end is minimal. Still and yet, I long for community. Praying God meets this longing in me and for all of us who feel the deep pain of isolation.


AmyAlves said...

So important! I just got off the phone with a sister-friend and feel so nourished. Blessings from Maine girl, Amy

Capacity Corner said...

This was a great post, Jennifer! Good reminder of how important friendships are, even when they hurt.


Southern Gal said...

We need relationships. It's hard sometimes for me. I need a good book right now. I think I'll pick up one of these.

cabinart said...

Just read last night "All women is brothers". . . it is from Wendell Berry's novel "Hannah Coulter", which I now want to read. (But I bet it doesn't have all the wonderful food descriptions - dang, Jennifer! 8-) )

Cheryl Barker said...

Friendship really does take investment -- in several different ways. Long-term friendships are especially sweet. Right now I need to take the time to get together with a friend who I don't get a chance to see at church the way I used to. Blessings on you and your friendships, Jennifer!

Unknown said...

As usual, so lyrical! Love the tone of your post! I couldn't agree more. I always ask new acquaintances about how much time they spend with friends.

So often they don't spend anytime at all. So sad. Friendship is worth it, even when they end or you have to say goodbye. So worth it! So valuable! (I wrote a post last week about old friends... wonder if you saw it)

Jennifer Dougan said...

Thanks, Anonymous. :)


Jennifer Dougan said...


We've spoken of this too, huh, friend?

I'm thankful for our rooftop teas as well.


Jennifer Dougan said...


I agree. Friendships take effort in today's busy world, but so worth it. :) Thanks for this growing online community too.


Jennifer Dougan said...


Moving can disrupt a sense of tangible community for sure. And in your fight against cancer that must have been especially hard. I'm sorry. What has contributed to your recent moves? I went through some seasons of frequent moves, and can understand. May God fill this need in a beautiful way for you, Elaine.

An online friend :),

Jennifer Dougan said...

Amy, "Nourished by a sister-friend" -- I like it. :)


Jennifer Dougan said...


I'm glad you stopped by and chimed in. I agree. Those friendships are worth it.

Thankful for getting to know you too here,

Jennifer Dougan said...

Southern Gal,

Nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping in here and for joining the conversations. I agree, we need relationships, and yet they can be hard sometimes too. Yes. I am thankful for them though, and so glad you stopped by.

You need a good book? :) I sense a kindred spirit. :) What book did you end up finding?

Jennifer Dougan

Jennifer Dougan said...


I smiled to see your name here! I haven't heard of that short story or book. How was it?

Ahh, the food descriptions... I grin thinking of you when I write them now, but they say to write what you see, smell and hear. :) What else can I do?

I enjoy you,

Jennifer Dougan said...


I agree. Investments, and the reaped benefits of long-term friendships that have stood the test of time. Beautiful. Shorter time friendships are wonderful too.

Did you get to grab some coffee and time out with that former church friend yet?


Jennifer Dougan said...

Hi AJ,

That's an intriguing question to ask new acquaintances, and I love asking deep questions. Thanks. I agree. Friendships and community is something that is lacking in many peoples' lives and yet we all need it.

No, I don't think I saw your post on friendships. Our whole family was sick with the flu this last week. I'll hop over. :)

Have a great week, AJ. Fun to get to know you more too,


Anonymous said...

In all aspects of my life I have "girlfriends" high school, college, work, and church. Each set brings more to my life and is more important then anything I own or places I have traveled. That is why I have a hard time with the term "best friend"...I could not choose from all the different avenues of my life one friend that would fit every situation that I have or many fit most situations I have.....then there always is the realization that what do my other friends think when I call just one of my friends "best" and they are not that one!You are so right on Jennifer.

Peggy Anderson