In the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about who I am – not in a “find yourself” kind of way – but more in a “what I’ve learned in the last 40 years” kind of way. Not that I’ve been self-focused but I am thinking more about the people – namely the women – who have influenced me. Some have been a wonderful example, some have been a huge warning message, and some are just so special that I’ll never be like them – and yet, I have benefited from them all.
I have been so blessed to know such a variety of women:
There have been the nurturers – usually someone slightly older, who have taken care of me and shown me what hospitality is. They have been the women who cook comfort food, host big meals that draw in a variety of people, have comfy guest rooms with soft beds, who make everyone feel as if they were a VIP. They make you feel like you’re special, even though you are absolutely ordinary.
There have been my advisers. They have a realistic view and aren’t afraid to tell me the truth. They are women of insight, experience, and spiritual discernment. They are wise and tactful. They empathize and listen – but they also share.
There have been the friends who I trust completely. These friends are a treasure as I have not had many of them. They are friends who I know will not judge me because they know we are all flawed children of God’s grace. They love me as I am – not as I’m supposed to be. They let me let my guard down; I can speak without censoring myself and know they will love and understand even if I’m rambling or wrong.
I see faces as I describe each group … and I am so thankful for each one. I am thankful too for the acquaintances that I see and chat with in passing. I am thankful for the women at my church. I recently have been aware that even though we are all from very different backgrounds (considering we are a military church with very few people who are truly “from here”) that when a crisis happens, a person is hurting, or someone has a need, they really do band together! I have seen it when someone needs meals such as when someone has a baby, is on bed rest, or after surgery; there are always volunteers to help. I’ve seen it among the staff that my husband works with – usually, if someone needs to be gone, someone else will step in.
I am glad I can say I am surrounded by many women who are willing to reach out – givers not just takers (because I’m also aware that there are so many takers: life&time-suckers, moochers, and takers-advantage-of-ers).
It is something I want to work on more – being more like my good friends!