Wednesday, August 18, 2010
My world has always been a man’s world. First, I had brothers. And then, if you asked me to name my closest friends in high school- i would say Debbie and… Shawn, Richard, Mike, Billy, Paul… college- pretty much the same. Most my ministry partners have been male and the team I serve with is 90% male.
Not that long ago I took inventory of my relationships. I realized that i was hiding behind “the girl next door” gig and that if I was honest, I had to admit I was…afraid of women. You see, men are… simple, straightforward, in some cases flattering and in most cases, dare I say it, low – maintenance. Women, on the other hand required things of me. My time, my story, my energy, my truth and maybe a casserole or yard work after a crises. Scary.
At that time, I felt like I had hit a wall in terms of my relational and in some ways, spiritual growth and I felt like God was whispering to me that it was time to take the risk of deep and meaningful relationships with women, rather than hiding out in the guys locker room, so to speak.
Initially, I tried doing this on my own, picking friends, people I, for one reason or another, wanted to be friends with. For the most part, this didn’t work out. People moved on or away, life was busy, opportunities were hit and miss, and in one case, I broke trust with a friend and in the end I think that cost me the relationship. My plans failed.
Then one day I noticed that God had placed people in my path, people I didn’t pick and who likely wouldn’t have picked me, and along the way, unlikely circumstances formed alliances. Lives woven together by (I believe) God’s hand. These relationships have challenged me, enriched me and been, outside of family, the most significant in my life. Life was good.
And then, I got a phone call from one of these friends who asked if I wanted to go to Hawaii with a group of women, for a week, nearly half of whom, I didn’t know. My “tomboy” instinct told me to run. Before this, there was no part of me that wanted to do an extended vacation with a bunch of women. But quickly I realized this was an opportunity and a risk I needed to take. Oh, and it was Hawaii after all- and I'm not a total idiot.
So last week, for the first time in my life I spent 7 days with 5 women. That’s a lot of fruit and lip gloss, loads of pictures and laughter and a little wine and talk of irregularity and a few tears. And, quite honestly, it was one of the most real, tender, loving experiences of my life. So thank you, my Maui sisters, for being such a wonderful blessing and surprise in my life. What a privilege it has been to get to know you and to be better known by this circle of friends.