Wednesday, August 06, 2008


In all of us are several layers of self. Yes, these layers are ordered and prioritized, as they should be. Some should even be smothered into quiet submission, but they are there nonetheless. We are Christians. We are moms. We are wives, athletes, cooks. . . artists. And we long to find solidarity among like-minded others. Yet, we rarely find all of the parts of ourselves echoed in a single friend. We tend to discover that our parts find resonance apart from one another, echoed, in varying degrees by the unique relationships in our lives.

I have a friend who knows how I work. While my words and actions may baffle some, she sees them for what they are. While there are those who make me want to veil myself; hiding the ugly bits of my character in order to present a more polished facade, she throws the veil off by simply proving time and time again that I can't fool her, and that she loves me despite the shamefully ugly bits. She and I are as different as day is to the night. But I need her. When I'm most confused, she explains me to me. And she loves me in a way that astounds me and makes me feel as secure as a I do when I'm cozied under a heavy blanket in a storm.

I have a friend who shares my passions. She FEELS like I do--that uncontrolled maelstrom that is feminine emotion. She digs deep into my heart and puts into beautiful and profound words some of my deepest longings and struggles. My senses are heightened when I'm around her. Life feels big and colourful and full of depth and wonder. She and I are of a kind: sensual creatures, seeking a balance between pleasure and, perhaps, the sacrifices we are meant to make for a truer and deeper faith. Striving. It's what we do, she and I. We lay our hearts bare and seek God's face while we are raw and emptied of ourselves.

I have a friend who mothers with me. She bravely admits her failures and struggles, while, in return, I confess that it all sounds so familiar. And the guilt and loneliness that is such a part of motherhood eases away in her presence. She and I take refuge in our kitchens. Finding that food speaks a language that we love. We understand that, while from nine to five, there is sweeping and discipline to be done, there comes the comforting and deliciously rewarding endeavour of orchestrating an evening meal. A humble feast sprung from sifting through tantalizingly endless possibilities, working with all of our senses to simmer the promises of the glossy recipe photo down to reality-on-a-plate. And then savouring the success of, both a delighted palette, and a family warmed by the fullness that comes from a good and meal, and an abundantly blessed life.

I have a friend whose laugh feels like home. Her mirth is kindred to me. We do not stand among the eloquent or the witty of the land, but we make no apologies for it. We laugh at the wind. We laugh at the rain. We laugh at the subtle and the absurd. We laugh when no one else seems to grasp the humour of the moment. But we always laugh as one. As though the bubbling well within us has a common source. And when it erupts there is no holding back: Two howling girls with rosy cheeks, tears in their eyes and pains in their sides.

I have a friend who understands the need to shape something with her own two hands. Who senses the fury of bottled up creativity within her, as I do. It is a tempest that batters us from the inside until we give it release. Exploding into all manner of form and colour. Given vision and skill, we must put ink to paper or paint to canvass. A double-edged gift, to be sure. It can consume. There is a place for it, if only it is used wisely and well.

I have friends who, in their own ways, mirror all of the fragmentary pieces of myself. The sum parts held by these women are revealing to me the beauty of communion and fellowship and pointing me towards the One who knows me whole.

It is a gift to find resonance.