"...I'd rather have four quarters than 100 pennies [any day]" - Al Capone
Today I had the most delightful brunch with a friend. One who sought to spend quality time with me, and would not be satisfied until we connected. She made me feel at home. She welcomed me from that place inside that you reserve for your family, and I felt the love from the top of my freshly done braids (that are still a little snug) to the soles of my feet. I knew instantly I was going to enjoy my time with her. We laughed, we ate (the same thing, because we obviously have very similar tastes), and high-fived each other for a little over two hours in that restaurant. Live Jazz played in the background, and we were oblivious to the customers that were coming and going all around us. What I enjoyed most of all was that she allowed me to do something very special today - and in the course of doing so, I found myself refreshed and ready to tackle the week.
What did she do? Read on, honey, read on.
1. Ya'll, she just allowed me to be me. No judgment, no shame, no preaching, just fellowship. At one point in the conversation, I mentioned to her that I was so thrilled to be there because I was engaging in an expectation-free evaluation and revamp of my friendships. I had vowed not to put more into a friendship than what I was getting out. In doing so, I was able to realize the value of those friendships. "I'd rather have 4 quarters that 100 pennies any day," I told her. Metaphorically speaking, having non-reciprocal friendships is similar to having 100 pennies - there are a lot of them, but if you drop or lose one, you leave it where it is. Likewise, if someone sees a penny lying in the street, they typically walk right by without picking it up. Why? Because it lacks value to them. Conversely, close and lasting friendships remind me of having 4 quarters; the value of the coin is different to the owner - you may have fewer coins overall, but their individual value is greater. We have to redefine value in our friendships every now and then.
2. She allowed me to share my heart. As we talked, I jokingly said that I wasn't going to unload on her. We had lots of catching up to do, and I knew we could have probably spent more than two hours chatting about our lives. She replied to me, "No ma'am, unpack it here." Can ya'll hear my deep sigh over the internet? It was truly a moment to exhale.
3. She gave me room. What do I mean by this? The fellowship was two-sided, No one dominated the conversation and I felt listened to AND engaged as she was speaking. That can sometimes be a challenge for us to do at times.
4. She prayed with and for me. We often miss the opportunity to say a prayer with and for our sisters. I know I have been guilty of this. I'll type in "Praying for you" on a post or in a text, and unless I stop right then and there to do it, I forget. It's not intentional of course, but life! After being prayed with and for today, I will no longer waste that opportunity ever again, Lord help me.
5. She allowed me to laugh out loud. lol. Yes, that little abbreviation meant so much. I mean the mouth-open, belly-shaking (that's another topic altogether), shoulder-shrugging laughter that erupted from somewhere deep inside I had not been in a while. FYI, when you find a friend that makes you laugh like this, keep them.
6. She took interest in my life outside of the scope of connection we shared. It's great to have friends with whom you share commonalities, likes and dislikes, and even stages of life. It's also great to have friends with whom you don't. Although my friend and I share many similarities, I just happen to be writing a dissertation and she isn't. When she asked me to describe my research to her, she listened intently as any good friend would. What struck me was her connection to my story. Tears quickly filled her eyes, and mine as well. What a special connection.
7. She encouraged me. So many times, we find ourselves pouring into others and forgetting to refill our own cup. She helped my to gain some perspective on where I was in life and reminded me to be proud of where I am and what I've accomplished.
So...we will be doing this again, and I can only hope that she took away as much love and encouragement as I did. Thank you sweet friend for today, I won't ever forget it. You are one of my quarters, girl!
From My Refilled Heart to Yours,