Archive for the ‘My Spectacular Friends’ Category

I have the best community. It is, by far, the most valuable thing in my life. It’s how I experience God in this world.

And it’s a pretty disparate bunch of people – a conglomeration of my years as a fundamentalist, a college student, a theatre chick, a Catholic poseur (it’s better in Francais), a philanthropy wonk and an online dater, plus my family and book group and a high school friend or two. Collectively they’re really smart, really generous, really ha-larious people.

The guys are stunning: one bought me the very laptop on which I’m composing this post; one sings on Broadway, one tapped me to stage manage his fortieth birthday party, and one stage managed the gathering I had after my dad died. He helped me plan while lying flat on my living room floor, his back having gone out earlier that evening. They make me laugh, make beautiful music, hold me accountable, and live well in the world.

But these women….

I am blessed with a legion of women friends; they are the core of my life. It is going to take many, many posts to do them justice individually and collectively. Tonight, I’d like to start with one of the Jennifers (incidentally, a name that I would bestow on a daughter, since my life has been immeasureably enriched by Jenny, Jen, Jenny and Jen) – the one I’ve known longest.

“Spicy Jenny” (as I distinguish her from four others) has been on my mind a lot this week. We chatted a few days ago for the first time in awhile, and she asked me lots of good questions about my trip to Mexico City (more on that another day), which is typical – she’s terrific at asking after what’s going on in my life, and responding with great enthusiasm. It’s really gratifying to share news and stories with her.

After hearing my tales, she told me about the happenings in her life – in particular, a situation with a long-time friend who has cut her off. There’s a lump forming in my throat and a constriction in my chest even as I write this, thinking about this dear woman’s pain and confusion.

I believe to my core that even when a friendship is coming to an end – and it’s inevitable that some do in everyone’s life – no one deserves to be ignored or abandoned without explanation. Having lost close friends both this way and to unexpected death, I’m willing to say that the cold shoulder is the more devastating situation from which to recover. When it happened to me, it shook my self-confidence and made me second-guess all of my friendships. It was dreadful, one of the most difficult seasons of my life.

So it makes my stomach contract to think of it happening to this lovely woman. The irony is that if I were to pick one attribute of Jenny’s to emulate (there are many), it would be the way she cares for her friends. Jenny fiercely supports the people she loves – throwing parties, writing letters, listening well, and on and on. Jenny is a doula, which sums up the way she lives her life: as a mother to the mothers, a caretaker – the kind of woman that gets invited to the most personal experience in someone’s life – giving birth. I always feel well cared for and highly valued in her presence. She’s one of the significant ways that I experience God.

So I wish I could make it all better. I wish that her friend would snap out of it and call Jenny and apologize RIGHT NOW. But since my wand has not yet arrived, I’ll send my dear Jenny light and grace and peace, and strive to be more like her each day.


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