Updated: May 1, 2020
Over the last four weeks, my girlfriends have been coming through for me and — may I say it? — I for them.
This is still an incredibly strange and stressful time to be living through, and I wouldn't be making it with the modicum of sanity I have without the love and support of the women in my life. I always new that #allmyfriendsareawesome but in quarantine, I'm appreciating some off their specific qualities.
I'd like to suggest that you try to be friends like this if you can. And also, if you have ladies showing up for you right now, send them a text or a card if you happen to have stamps in the house, and let them know you appreciate them.
1. Someone willing to do silly things with you. Josie showed up to my "All My Friends Have Issues" online Bible study wearing bunny ears last week. Jodi and I had a fantasy spring break photo contest on Instagram last week (see last week's email or my Instagram feed @amandaandersonauthor). Jen and I blow up each other's phones in the evening with our favorite memes of the day.
2. Someone who you trust enough to come say "hi" and drop off a care package but who won’t make you nervous because they might suddenly hug you or come in your house. We are being very obedient to the social distancing guidelines over here. But we are also pining deeply for the faces of our friends. So I'm grateful that I've been able to drop off goodies to my girlfriends' houses and receive some at mine. We put them in disinfected Ziploc bags so they are safe to handle. Josie quarantined my gift of face masks and paperback books for three days in her garage before she opened them. We have also had meaningful conversations with each other across our driveways. Our neighbors probably know more about us than they used to, since we can't exactly keep our voices down from 10 feet away, but perhaps it helped them feel less lonely too. Win win.
3. Someone you really love and respect who has a different perspective on politics. This keeps you believing that everyone who disagrees with you is evil or stupid. I wish this crisis was making all people gentler and more unified, but unfortunately my Facebook feed has been filled more than ever with name-calling and conspiracy theories. (I've been snoozing a lot of accounts to save my sanity.) It really, really helps me to talk to my very close friends who voted for different people than I did and have reasonable reasons for having done so. It keeps me from being prideful, hateful or blaming and helps me be patient, prayerful, and humble.
4. Someone who can face reality and also hold on to hope. Almost every day around four p.m. Jen and I talk on the phone while we take our walk 20 miles apart. We talk about the day's news, the latest stats, the economy, our kids' distance learning, the changes in our jobs. We try to reason things out and understand the current state of affairs the best we can. And then our conversation turns from the state of the world to the kingdom of God. What are we learning about Jesus and ourselves? How are God's promises still true? What do we have to be grateful for? I'm always uplifted by these conversations.
5. Someone you can call if you need a witness to your tears. You mothers out there will understand. You don't want to deny your emotions in front of your kids, nor do you want to overwhelm them by weeping daily over the dishes. But sometimes, I just need a good cry. Because I miss seeing my people, worshiping in my church. I've got boxes of books under my bed that I can't sell and sign because all my speaking engagements have been cancelled indefinitely. And I need to cry for the much greater hardships in households all over the world. So I like to spread this need around. The three closest ladies in my life then only need to hear me cry about every 12 days.
I feel I truly am one of the most fortunate humans in the world. My husband still has his job, and is nice to have at the kitchen table, where he is doing it. My children are healthy, old enough to get their own snacks, and learn from home without a lot of my help. Our home is clean, safe, cozy and surrounded by bird song. But the peace that continues to pervade it this home is maintained through intimate connections that are outside of it -- with my God-fearing girlfriends, helping me bear the burden of this new normal. Bless them. And bless you for how you are holding up those you love, too.