Friendship

Walking Each Other Home

When all is said and done, we’re really just all walking each other home.

Ram Dass

No matter your opinion of Ram Dass, this quote is worth considering. After hearing it, I pondered what it meant to walk someone home. What did it mean for someone to walk me home?

Walking someone home seems simple. It provides company. Company provides safety. Conversation makes a journey seem quicker. Companions lighten our load.

On a deeper level, walking each other home involves vulnerability and intimacy. In olden days, a man declared his intentions with “May I see you home?”

You don’t announce you are walking someone home. You have to be allowed. Especially today, trust is established before a home’s location is revealed.

Walking each other home is a privilege.

Ultimately, walking each other home means arriving at the same destination. Therefore, I need to be aware of the objectives of my fellow travelers.

Who is walking you home? Whom are you walking home?

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?

John 14:2 (ESV)

Friendship, Memories

Wound Openers

We all carry wounds we are unaware of until they are bumped, or worse, smacked.

After a church acquaintance discovered that she and I shared a hometown, she innocently asked, “Did you attend Grimsley or Page?”

“Smith,” I said. A thirty-year-old wound opened, and I wondered what my face revealed.

The wound? One Sunday morning, my sister and I scoured the newspaper pages announcing new high school boundaries. We rejoiced to find our street assigned to Smith. My sister could return, and I could join her.

Hours later, a fellow middle schooler slunk into Sunday School lamenting, “I have to go to Smith instead of Grimsley or Page. Students at Smith are stupid and wear overalls and don’t own shoes and are excused to harvest crops… my life is doomed.”  

My classmates commiserated.  My teacher consoled. I kept quiet. I did comfort myself with my knowledge: shoes but no overalls, a modern mall under construction nearby but no farms.

I didn’t fully understand that I still bore the wound until asked “Grimsley or Page?” which implied, “Surely, not Smith.”

PS Patricia liked Smith, and we became good friends in Algebra 2.

Any wounds being opened?

Friendship

Be the First To Ask For Help

I had three preschoolers. My nearby friend had more preschoolers. I was overwhelmed many times. She was overwhelmed most of the time. When I ran errands, I occasionally offered to include hers. She always declined.

One morning, I wanted mulch. Our house was for sale and potential buyers were coming that afternoon. Mulch would significantly improve our curb appeal, and I didn’t have the car that day.

During a quick morning phone conversation, my friend mentioned she was taking all—yes all—of her small children shopping at a garden center. At that moment, I realized I was desperate enough to ask her to bring me mulch. My friend drove up a couple hours later with three oversized bags, which I immediately spread under our azaleas.

More than mulch, she brought a new attitude. My future requests to help were embraced. Why? I don’t know. Maybe my friend realized that adding her items to my cart would not impose. Whatever the reason, our friendship grew from my mulch request.

It didn’t stop there. Other friendships grew when I was vulnerable to ask for needed help.

Is it easy for you to request help?

Friendship, Parenting

I Know You Already Know This

Decades ago, I volunteered to substitute in a preschool Sunday School class in our new town. Not only were my three boys preschoolers, but I also had taught the three-year-old class at our former church. I chafed while the lead teacher showed me the lesson and spoke as if I were ignorant about both teaching and preschoolers. I admit my attitude towards her became poor.

Five years later, my sister-in-law prefaced a conversation with “I know you already know this.” The strong statements that followed were not perceived as a lecture but as Sherry’s desire to discuss information about which I was knowledgeable.

I don’t remember whether I knew the facts and opinions Sherry stated, but I know I did think what a respectful, disarming way to start specific conversations. I immediately recollected the Sunday School lecture about teaching preschoolers and how different it might have been if the information had been prefaced with “I know you already know this, but…”

We do need refreshers and reminders and exhortations about what we already know.  “I know you already know this” can be a respectful opening.

Thank you for being a reader of this blog about things “you already know.”

Decisions, Friendship

Trust Your Instinct

A long-distance friend had a January birthday, and I wanted a gift that reflected her personality and tastes. I was stumped.

One December afternoon, I perused Christmas gift bags at JOANN Fabrics. One rack featured women in 1960’s outfits.  The writing on one snowy scene declared, “Shopping in a Winter Wonderland.” Faye loved retro, snow, and shopping. I bought the bag. Now I needed the gift.

On the way to the car, I thought how Faye would love the bag even without a gift inside.

Go back and buy more of those gift bags for her birthday,” I thought. “She would love them all.”

I used the long checkout line as an excuse to dismiss my irrational thoughts. My friend would never judge a gift from me, but empty gift bags?

A week later, I was back at JOANN Fabrics and took the plunge. I mailed Faye an assortment of empty gift bags. Inside her birthday card, I warned that the birthday present was strange. Intrigued, Faye opened it early. She, her family, and her even friends loved my idea.

Want a perfect gift? Follow your instincts. Risk being wrong.

When has a friendship risk paid off?