I was reading through a small booklet by Patricia Holland that I was given a couple of years ago and I just wanted to share some of the things that are in it...
"One especially troubling complaint of our time is there is no commonality among women. Across cultures and countries, and even in our own neighborhoods, we women have become so diverse and so separated in our lifestyles, interests, and preoccupations that rarely do we have a friend such as our mothers had over the back fence, a neighbor to visit, to love, and to talk with. But we still need someone to listen when our joints ache, our children squabble, or (perhaps more urgently) when we wish we had squabbling children or loved ones nearby to nurture. We must not let the modern world isolate, fragment, or distance us from those we can love and serve."
"To receive the fulness God has intended for us, to offset the emptiness of isolation or hurt or sorrow, to clothe ourselves 'with the bond of charity, as with a mantle' (D&C 88:125), we are all going to have to reach out with our hearts and let down some barriers. Most of us protect ourselves from pain- hurtful experiences and words that come from our friends, our enemies, and sometimes from within us- by building walls, emotional defenses around our hearts.
But the same walls we build to protect ourselves can also isolate us, and that isolation leads to the problems we see so many others struggling with. Can we let down a few walls and find that we are in the embrace of God? Let's receive the spirit of holiness and let our cups be filled with living water. Let us receive in order to give."
I loved re-reading these words this week. It brings to mind (yet again!) what a blessing this blogging community has been. I think it is helping us to establish those "over the fence" type of relationships that our mothers had but that I know I've rarely experienced. It's incredible to know that we are all sharing our struggles, our hopes, our fears, and our lives with one another, and that others are not finding fault with our shortcomings, but are filled with more charity for us.
I have to admit that before moving into this ward, I knew very little about having close relationships with other women. I had a few friends, but no one I was close to. I always thought I was just an oddball or a freak because I didn't have the social skills (or desire!) to feel connected to others. I am so thankful for every single sister who has shown me what it is to be a friend- for each phone call, each hello, each time my visiting teachers have shown up (even when it had to be awkward to visit such a quiet person!!) I have been blessed in so many ways through my contacts with each of you. And I can say, from the bottom of my heart, that I love every one of you. I wish I could list on here the different reasons I love each of you- you all have so many wonderful talents and gifts. I just hope that you know how much I appreciate each of you (yes, even those of you who are thinking right now "she doesn't even know me that well."!!
I know you in my heart already, even if we aren't good friends on the surface yet.!)
There is not a single sister who doesn't have something to offer to all of us. That's the beauty of our life here. We are surrounded by miraculous beings who often show up as angels in our lives. We learn and progress together. And I am so full of gratitude today for the love that has filled the empty spaces of my heart.
(I hope the guys don't feel left out because of this post. I love them too, but there's no comparing the loving friendships that sisters have with anything else out there!!)