Love and Friendship

In honor of “Galentine’s Day,”* today, I’ve been thinking about my favorite friends (both real and fictional).

I’ve learned a lot about friendship from Anne of Green Gables. In it, Anne Shirley says, “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”

Isn’t that a wonderful thought? If you’ve ever felt like there aren’t many kindred spirits out there, don’t give up; keep looking around. Your bosom friend might be the new hire at work, someone at your church, the girl next to you at the gym, a mom in your son’s class at school, or the person standing in line next to you at the grocery store. (Or maybe it’s the girl with her nose in a book in the lunch room. Bingo!)

I love the scene when Anne first tells Marilla she wants a bosom friend:

Anne tipped the vase of apple blossoms near enough to bestow a soft kiss on a pink-cupped bud, and then studied diligently for some moments longer.

“Marilla,” she demanded presently, “do you think that I shall ever have a bosom friend in Avonlea?”

“A—a what kind of friend?”

“A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul. I’ve dreamed of meeting her all my life. I never really supposed I would, but so many of my loveliest dreams have come true all at once that perhaps this one will, too. Do you think it’s possible?”

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

At their first meeting, Anne and Diana become instant friends. Anne, the over-eager one who isn’t exactly aware of certain social cues, asks Diana if she could like her enough to become bosom friends. She asks for a vow of commitment right then and there. It’s delightfully funny and utterly endearing.

Anne’s definition of a bosom friend is spot-on. We all long for that kind of friend – a friend we can love and who will love us in return, in whom we can truly “confide.”

I used to think every girl was destined to have one “bosom” friend, and while it’s wonderful to have a few really deep friendships, I, like Anne, have learned that kindred spirits aren’t so scarce as I used to think.

There are many types of friendships and friendship seasons, and life and experience bring all sorts of wonderful people in and out of our lives. I’ve known some of my friends since before I can remember, a few since elementary school, and many from college and beyond. However, a lot of my friendships from the past decade-plus are mostly friends I met at church during my “young mom” days.

In the early years, we wedged play dates (otherwise known as mommy sanity sessions) in between breakfast cleanup, nursing sessions, and nap schedules. On the edge of exhaustion, we were thankful for the chance to lock eyes with another adult. We grew close, clinging together in the trenches, bonding over the sporadic triumphs and never-ending challenges of motherhood.

Now that most of my friends either have older children or a mix of both, our friendships look a lot different. Some of us still have little ones coming up, others are home schooling, still others have children in school and are involved in work, ministry, or a mixture of both. Thus, the old “glory” days of seeing one another regularly and in the same playground circles are in the past.

Like you, I’ve had my fair share of heartache where friends are concerned. It’s painful to realize that a friend has “moved on” and isn’t interested in taking you along into the next phase of her life. And, of course, I’m separated from some of my dearest friends by long distances, which makes it harder to stay close.

In this new season, I strive to push myself out of my comfort zone to forge new friendships and I work hard to stay close with my “bosom” friends. A handful of my close friends are very intentional about investing in our friendship; they are committed to keeping our relationship alive. We need quality time together to thrive, so we’re careful to set dates and prioritize our time together.

One of my friends always says things like, “We give our best to so many other things in this life; why wouldn’t we give our best to our friendships?” She’s right!

Do you have one or two special friends in your life? Or can you think of a woman you know who might need a friend? This Galentine’s Day, let’s all to do something special for a girlfriend or two. You never know what kind of ripple effect it might have.

Ideas for making your gal pals feel special this week:

  • Write her a handwritten card
  • Put flowers on her front step
  • Share a meal together
  • Lend her a favorite book
  • Take her a coffee or tea and enjoy a chat
  • Meet up before or after work
  • Set up a phone call or FaceTime session

What are some things you like to do with your friends? If you have any long-term friendships, please share the way you stay close!

*Galentine’s Day: A day when women friends honor one other on February 13th. The term was coined by the character Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) in Parks and Recreation, which just happens to be one of my most favorite shows.

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