Ode to friendship

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What? You too? I thought that no one but myself . . . "
C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Some of my introvert friends and I like to joke about our propensity for solitude. "Introverts unite . . . individually!" And "small talk with strangers is my kryptonite." And "we secretly love it when you cancel plans." In a noisy world, we like our quiet.

But truly, even though I need and enjoy my alone time, there is nothing like spending time with a good friend. 

I have a dear friend who lives about five hours away. We see each other every few months, when she comes to stay here for a few days, or I go to visit her. If we lived close, and met for coffee, we would probably spend the time talking non-stop. But when we are together for a few days, we are often found sitting together, reading or working on our laptops. One of us might cook while the other naps.

Sometimes her husband comes in the room, looks at us, and shakes his head. "Aren't you two going to do anything?" he asks. He simply can't see what's fun about enjoying quiet time together. Yes, we go antiquing or out to eat, but we can enjoy the quietness of books and random talk as we visit.

Our book club has been meeting twice a month for more than three years. I love this group of women. We are a group of eleven, ranging in age from mid-forties to early sixties. A few have children still at home; others are grandmothers. We are all, except for a few who are still teaching their children, "retired" homeschool moms, who share a love of books and of the Lord. We read a wide range of books, from classics to best-sellers, mysteries, and long, heavy tomes. We do discuss books, but we also spend lots of time catching up and supporting each other and just plain laughing together.

From a recent book club meeting. Isn't this retro coffee warmer great? 
Everyone brings something for a delicious salad bar lunch, including home-grown cucumbers.
I met a woman recently who said she was in a book club that had been meeting for 25 years. If our club met that long, I would be about 80. I sure hope we are still meeting together as elderly ladies!

There is something really special about friendship that has lasted years, decades even. A shared history, and memories of going camping together, praying each other through difficult situations, working together at our children's debate tournaments, rejoicing together at showers and weddings, making salsa together, shopping and cooking and having endless cups of tea . . .  We have prayed, laughed, and cried together.

Sometimes a friend is made unexpectedly. When my daughter-in-law's mother and I were planning the wedding for my son and her daughter, we were able to visit each other several times, even though I am in Michigan and she is in North Carolina. We decided to call ourselves SSILs (special sisters-in-law), as there is really no name for the relationship between mothers of the bride and groom. Oh, yes, I guess there is . . .  friends. We have since gone on vacation together twice. 

I'm on the left; my dear SSIL is on the right.
And don't let me forget my new blogging friends. Bloggers are some of the most generous and kind people I know, sharing information and inspiration, devoting hours of time to give us all an idea or a smile or a thought-provoking post, all for free!

I don't have tons of friends; I just don't have enough energy to keep up with that many people. But I do truly value the ones that I have. They are a special gift from God, and knowing them makes my life so much richer.

Hug a friend today!

21 comments :

  1. This is a very sweet post. I am glad that you do not isolate in your preference for solitude. I tend to do that and it is not always a good thing. What a nice photo of you and your friend. I think SSIL is a much better title than "the other grandmother," which is what I tend to call my son's mother-in-law. Ha!

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  2. Oh Deborah, your post is absolutely delightful :) I think it's better to have a handful of true, close friends than a boatload of acquaintances.

    Thank you for sharing :) Hugs to you!

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  3. Dear Deborah, I so understand this post from being with a very dear friend and you just are quiet together!
    But what I really loved was hearing about this Book Club that you are a part of! I think that may be something I might look into. I have been feeling a bit down as I have two very dear friends who are moving soon, one to another state and the other one to the very far side of our town! It feels more bittersweet!
    Thanks for sharing...Roxy xo

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  4. A post that was thought provoking and a delight to read. I totally agree with Stephanie better to have a few good friends than loads of acquaintances.

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  5. Such a great post Deborah! Too funny! I am an introvert too (but have some characteristics of an extrovert:) I can totally relate to the "feeling a slight sense of relief if a friend cancels...It is not at all that I do not enjoy spending time with friends it is just that like most introverts I feel more energy if I am alone...Have you read the post over at http://joannagoddard.blogspot.com.br/2014/06/are-you-introvert-or-extrovert.html? It is really good! That is how I discovered, somewhat to my surprise I might add, that I am have more introverted characteristics. You must read it if you have not. I get a chuckle out of it. My husband can NEVER understand why I hate answering the phone---he just wants to answer, and I HATE working out at the gym if it is too packed, whereas he hates when it is empty. So I read him the blog post and it all makes sense now. Tee-hee. At any rate, bloggy friends are great...I always enjoy your posts even though I do not always comment. Have a great day...

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  6. A delightful post, you're lucky to have a SSIL who is a good friend. It takes a lot for us introverts to get out of our comfort zone and sometimes it is painless, but other times a great ordeal.
    The book club sounds like a nice gathering of women and it would seem good books aren't the only thing shared.

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  7. From one Deborah to another, I agree with you on many levels. I do very much love being around my few close friends...I am a silly, crazy girl sometimes and love to laugh but feel a bit intimidated and insecure around folks I don't know that well. I also really enjoy solitude and need to have it to stay sane! Great post!

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  8. A lovely post Deborah-true friends are a gift indeed. The Book Club sounds wonderful-if I lived near I would certainly love to join you! Alison xx

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  9. You are such a dear gal. I sure have enjoyed our new friendship, and hope it grows and grows.....because, well, we won't let OSU and U of M dictate if we can be friends or not, RIGHT?????????? : - )

    (Does it help I was born in Michigan???) LOL.

    Sweet post.

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  10. A lovely post. My spouse is disabled and we spend many hours alone but we do have special friends that we enjoy on occasion and of course, my beloved blogging friends. My childhood friend, Amy, is visiting this Sat. We don't see each other but twice a year, but the talk flows freely.
    Thankful to have met you and I enjoy your blog very much. Mildred

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  11. That was a nice post Deborah. I feel like you do a lot of the time. Susan

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  12. What a lovely post, Deborah. I consider myself a "closet introvert." You wouldn't know that from the professions I have chosen (former teacher, current image consultant), but we all have our little secrets. And, yes, what would we do w/out friends, especially when family are more than 3000 miles away in another country.

    Cheers, M-T

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  13. Love the quotes! I'm not a social butterfly- I value quality over quantity in everything, including friends. How nice to have a book club consisting of cherished friends, and of course, having an in-law that is so dear is a treasure! I'm at an age where friends who were parents of my daughter's school pals have slipped away now that my daughter graduated from high school. Need a new friend, or two. I just won't put up with drama or insincerity, so I find alone time (or time with hubby and daughter) is more rewarding than spending time with gossipers, etc. Have a great weekend ahead! :)

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  14. I have a few very special friends (in my inner circle) that I love dearly, then I have friends that aren't quite as close but are still special. Friends are so important to women and we need them. Some of my best friends I am also related to, a little younger than me that are extra special as we understand each other due to our backgrounds.

    Love Winnie the Pooh:)) Always makes me smile, such a wise bear.

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  15. This is like something I could have written, right down to the friendship with the mother of my son-in-law. We call ourselves The Mothership.

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  16. I pray that my kids will be as blessed with a friendship like ours! So glad to call you friend, Debbie.

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  17. Dearest Deborah,
    What a lovely thought and you both radiate such happiness in that picture together. Such a very special bonding and friendship. No wonder that your children fell in love with each other...
    Enjoy your Sunday and yes, selecting certain blogs one does meet with like minded people that become virtual friends.
    We are blessed!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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  18. Your book club sounds like a wonderful group of women, Deborah. I also love the idea of sharing of food. The pic of you and your SSIL is adorable and you both look radiant! Happy Sunday, my friend.

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  19. What a sweet post Deborah. I wish I could take part in such a wonderful group of interesting ladies. It sounds like you have made some wonderful friendships. Ones that will last a life time. I love the photo too.. Very beautiful. I am glad to have met you through blogland too. You are a world of knowledge and inspiration too sweet friend.

    Hugs,

    Janet

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