I love being Mrs. Gary Brick. He is hands down my favorite person to be with. We talk, laugh, play backgammon, watch sports, buy houses (via House Hunter International), love, argue, make up… He adds perspective to situations I can’t begin to formulate on my own. He helps me step outside the tunnel I’m often standing in to show me a bigger picture.
Now, pardon me for stating the obvious, but…his perspective is always male. We rarely say to each other, “I completely understand what you’re thinking and feeling.” Because we don’t. God created me to be different from Gary.
When I connect with other women I’m reminded God created others who see the world similarly to me.
I’m blessed with many dear female friends. But schedules rarely allow for a block of time together, even though it takes time to move beyond the superficial into the deep. And deep is what we crave.
In times gone by, women found ways to build this connection into their days. For example, in Jesus’ day women drew water from the common well around the same time of day. Why? I think they enjoyed meeting each other there. Even if they did not have hours to spend, I believe they connected there. They talked and laughed. I imagine some lingered a bit longer than was maybe necessary. As hard as it was to tote water every day, the few minutes of seeing friends probably made the chore a bit easier. (If this is not how it really happened, please keep that to yourself. I like my version of the water-gathering ritual.)
In our day, we seem so naturally disconnected. Many of us don’t live near family. We don’t have agreed upon times to connect. We certainly don’t coordinate our water-drawing time, or even our grocery run. When we see each other at work, or church or Wal-mart, we ask, “How are you?” without having time to really listen to the answer. We’re not uncaring. Most of us care a lot. But we’re pressed by other things.
Two years ago, in an effort to connect more deeply with women, my friend Jen and I invited six other women to join us for dinner once a month.
We eat and talk in each others’ homes. We talk about husbands (kindly – no bashing or belittling), kids, jobs, hobbies, vacations, heart-felt passions, God… We celebrate each other’s bravery and encourage one another through times of fear. Conversation moves seamlessly from quiet seriousness to loud laughter and back again.
We do not meet to get away from our husbands. We do not meet to get away from our children. We meet to move closer to each other. And when we move closer to each other, we learn more about ourselves.
I find fragments of myself in the others. I gain confidence in the common bond of womanhood. The conversations help me better understand how I feel about events or relationships in my life. Being together for an evening helps me to find my voice so I can take it back to my everyday life.
And it all happened so quickly. We were not a natural, already existing group of friends. Eight individual women came together. Now we are one group. Now, we are, well, “we.”
We build each other up.
We share stories.
We’re creating our own group stories.
The older ones encourage the younger ones with truths already learned.
The younger ones encourage the older ones to bravely step out of comfort zones.
Two years ago, I did not really know all these women. Now, I can’t imagine my life without them.
So I ask you: Do you have a group of women you connect with? Do you regularly schedule time to connect with them?
Dinner with a group of women once a month may sound like a nice addition to life when you can schedule it in. But please hear me, dear friend. This is not hanging a wreath on the door that is unessential, but makes the house look nice. Rather, it is reinforcing the structure to help the house stand stronger in a storm.
Don’t overlook connecting with women. We’re made for connection. We each have so much to offer. And so much to gain.
Who can you connect with? Has God already put a few names on your heart?
Can you give one evening a month?
Next week I’ll describe specific steps we took to bring this group together.
Spoiler alert: It is not difficult, and it doesn’t take much time. But the rewards! Oh, the rewards.