The Power of Girlfriends
The unwinding of my marriage to Randy has been painful, hard, scary, and at times exciting and freeing. One of the hardest things was deciding to move out. The separating of stuff, the signing of a lease, the arduous task of actually moving—so HARD! After being in my new space for about 10 days, this group of women came over to help me celebrate my new home and new beginnings. I asked them for help and every last one of them showed up. Karen was on her way to a board meeting. Maggie had a RFP due. Anne was dealing with her own pain. And I know everyone else had obligations on a week night, a work night. But they all arrived. They brought wine. They brought gifts. They brought laughter and support.
It turns out that Randy pulled some financial shenanigans the night before my friends descended on my new home. It turns out they were here exactly when I needed them. My girlfriends knew, even if they didn’t know, and I am grateful beyond what words can express. Still, I must say thank you and here is the letter I sent them:
Dear Maggie, Anne, Joanne, Gail, Judy, Tiffany, and Karen,
For the better part of the past 2 decades, I routinely found myself in tears over the fact that I didn’t have any real girlfriends. Sure I networked, had situational friends, and had a few close family members, but when it came to a group of women I could lean on, I was alone.
It’s important to me that I thank you, not just for surrounding me Wednesday night, but for also helping to heal that lingering sense of loneliness. I feel the strength, wisdom, experience, and love that each of you has to offer and I feel encircled by it. I am also learning from each of you what it means to be a friend and I commit to you that I will show up when it’s my turn.
Let me share with you a story about sisterhood (by Jen Hatmaker):
It's about female elephants. You know, as all good stories begin. See, in the wild, when a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so that the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of badasses. They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they'll have to get through 40 tons of female aggression first. When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds. Scientists tell us this: They normally take this formation in only two cases - under attack by predators like lions, or during the birth of a new elephant. This is what we do, girls. When our sisters are vulnerable, when they are giving birth to new life, new ideas, new ministries, new spaces, when they are under attack, when they need their people to surround them so they can create, deliver, heal, recover...we get in formation
. We close ranks and literally have each others' backs. You want to mess with our sis? Come through us first. Good luck. And when delivery comes, when new life makes its entrance, when healing finally begins, when the night has passed and our sister is ready to rise back up, we sound our trumpets because we saw it through together. We celebrate! We cheer! We raise our glasses and give thanks. ...Maybe you need this too. If you are closing ranks around a vulnerable sister, or if your girls have you surrounded while you are tender, this is how we do it. There is no community like a community of women.