wisdomfromthesisterhood

The Sisterhood is a place to bring your cup of coffee to. Heck, bring the whole pot :). Sit down, relax, and fall in for a while. No divas or meanies allowed. It's about boy brain, kiddos, food, one crazy labrador, autism and a cat in recovery from a back tire incident. Oh the places you'll go :)

The Friendship Bucket

I  believe God has this crazy sense of humor.   He hears our prayers and then it’s like he says, “Oh, yeah, I can do that…OH, but wait a second…let me go you one better and add this little side dish in to make you think a little bit about what you are really asking for.”  He’s funny like that.  He is one of those teachers who likes to capitalizes on the “teaching moments” whether we are ready for them or not.

So, once upon a time, the friendship bucket was overflowing.  Life was fun, get-togethers were plentiful and there was a lot of laughter and inside joking going on in The Sisterhood.  Life was a very good place.  It was so good in fact, I decided to plan a dinner.  It started out very simple like, “hey, let’s have dinner.  I miss you guys so much I’ll drive the three hours to visit you all.  How about that great restaurant on the water?  Can’t wait to see you there.”  It could not have been any simpler.  A fun time with friends, good food by the ocean and maybe a great dessert before driving the three hours back.  SIMPLE.

And, then it began to do this crazy thing….it began to fall apart.

I should have known when I said hello and my friend responded with, “Don’t even speak to me until I’ve had at least two drinks” that it was not going to end well.   It was not the way I have ever greeted a friend or spoken to anyone but we go back a lot of years so I decide to move on because that is what we do with old friends.  Right?

I should have had enough sense to run right then….fly, be free…run away, run far, far away….but I ignored the sane voices in my head and I remained.    It wasn’t too long after our meal arrived that the unkindness began again.  The two-drink-minimum friend began to ask questions of me regarding something trivial like dating.  Simple right?  Yeah, simple except that I apparently didn’t answer the questions right because the questions suddenly became more pointed and then they deteriorated into this scary form of verbal combat.  Looking back, I don’t think it mattered how I answered.  I think she just needed a kicking post and I won the lottery.  But the crazy part of it all was, as I sat there under fire,  not one of my friends at that table stood up for me. Not one had my back.  Within a few minutes, I was reduced to tears and I kept hoping one of these friends I’d known for decades would come to my rescue but, sadly, no one moved.   Not one.  I was floored and as it occurred to me that I had not driven three hours to cry at the dinner table, I stood up, said a quick goodbye and took my tears on a walk out of the restaurant and over to my car.  I knew my Red Girl would appreciate me…no matter what.

Yeah, it was ugly…on a lot of fronts that night but the ugly actually turned out to be an eye opener of a gift.  In the middle of that blessing I had not requested, I had this eye opening experience.  It is amazing what will happen when you realize not one friend sitting around the dinner table will stand up for you when you are under fire.  That, for all intents and purposes, you do not matter enough for them to be movedNot one friend had my back that night.   I did appreciate the one friend who ran after me into the parking lot but I was shocked that not one so-called friend, friends from decades gone by, friends who I considered family, stood up to say, “leave her alone,” or “friends don’t speak that way,” or, “we did not come here for this.”  This was the teaching moment…the one that hurts but, in the end, is the lesson that changes you.

The rest of the table stood down and remained silent, either enjoying the entertainment factor or else too scared of the two-drink-minimum friend to find their voice.  Perhaps bullies never grow up and grown ups never stop being scared of the bully.   Or, perhaps, they were friends in name only.  All I know is….even though it was a blessing I had not wanted and it was pretty darn ugly all around, it also really needed to happen.  Though I couldn’t see it at the time, through my tears and my shock, this was one of those God moments.  The moments when God says, “Hey, now I know you prayed for a safe night out with your friends and you thanked me for the friends in your life but I think I can go you one better.  Check this out. If we just tweak this night out a little bit, look what happens.  Look who you’re thanking me for.”  And, he smiles because he knows that even though it’s a not quite the blessing you asked for, he is teaching you a monumental lesson that you need to learn for the road he has in store for you.  Eventually, after the tears and shock have passed, you will be grateful and, truly, I am grateful because I think about loyalty now.  I understand more than ever how much loyalty matters.

And, more than that, He taught me that my friendship bucket is not overflowing just because the bucket is full and packed with people.  Quantity will never be equal to quality.  My friendship bucket will only be full when my heart is full and only good friends do that.  They fill your heart and it has nothing to do with a number.  There are some really great people out there and it’s up to each of us to make sure we fill our bucket with friends that help and don’t hurt us.  That has also become my friendship litmus test because loyalty matters and so does the quality and kindness of the friends we allow into our circle.  Today The Sisterhood is different.  It’s full in a way it never has been with friends who matter and who would stand up for me just as quickly as I would stand up for them because those are the friends that make this life worth living.


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