Thursday, July 22, 2010

Free Space

My Wednesday night study group stole its name from a chapel sermon given by the hippest woman on campus. She compared Wednesday morning chapel at our college to the free space in Bingo--a spot no one has to earn, where acceptance is unconditional, and anyone can take a deep breath.

That's what we wanted our group to be. A safe place, a place we can challenge ourselves and question without judgment, a place of refuge. Most of all a place where God inhabits our relationships.

Over the years the dozen or so women who have been in the Free Space have laughed and cried and argued and consoled. This past year has been especially challenging. We have supported each other through death (of a spouse, a parent, a friend) and imprisonment (of a son), disease (cancer and MS) and discouragement. But there also has been limitless joy. We've told each other, in perfect sincerity, that the new grandbabies are the most beautiful ever born.

At the end of the spring, though, we were tired. It had been an especially grueling year for many and the summer was looking brutal. We decided to take a break until fall but every time we'd run into each other at the grocery store we sounded like junior high girls on Facebook after summer camp. "I miiiiissss you!"

This week I'd had enough of the missing. I cranked up some ice cream and turned on the porch light and six showed up.

It felt like putting on Birkenstocks at the end of the work day. So supportive, but so comfortable.

I often worried about my boys and their friendships. It took me many years to realize that men and women process friendships differently. The boys thoroughly enjoy their friends, but they are males. They wait for friendships and are happily surprised when friendships appear. Women crave and pursue these relationships.

They need the free space.

1 comment:

  1. And you are so good about giving us the Freespace to enjoy. Your the mortar that holds us together.