Thursday, September 29, 2011

Going Deep (Beyond the Bread)

“I really like Mrs. Brown,” Logan said. “She’s kind. And she’s a good friend to you.”

I smiled, lost in the sweetness that my near-man- boy would care about such things as my friendships.

“Whatever you do,” he said. “Don’t bake bread with her.” Then he smiled.

And I knew exactly why.

Logan had been around to witness The Bread Years. When he was smaller, I was younger, and we lived in a dear “gingerbread” home in Iowa, I lost a few friends. More than a few. I’d meet a kindred spirit. We’d share our time and our hearts. Our lives would begin to overlap.

Then we’d wind up in the kitchen.

Baking bread.

And sure enough, after the baking began, the friend would disappear. There would be a job transfer for my friend’s husband. It was best for my friend’s family to move back home. One friend even became a surgical nurse for the United States Air Force.


My friend would vanish into a quiet, lonely whisper, and I’d be left with a tattered heart.

After the sting of The Bread Years, I became a bit guarded. I was weary. And wounded. Why pour, at  gut-level, know-me-and-love-me-anyway depth, into another soul when it was likely that she’d hit the High Road? Was the loneliness from losing a friend (well, at least the daily-grind, daily-blessing part), worth the blessing of that friendship?

In my loneliness, at long, last, I decided: Yes.

God made women with tender hearts. Relational hearts. Hearts made to overlap and intertwine and tangle together in the sweet gift of friendship. Who else, but a girlfriend, can look at my face and ask “What’s wrong?” before a word falls from my lips. Who else, but a girlfriend, can listen to the Lord’s prompt and deliver a book or a hug or a box of tea in such exquisite timing that I know it’s really a gift from Him? Who else will answer the phone at midnight for tears of sadness or tears of joy? Who else will take my children when I’m about to snap to the Place of No Return? Who else will pray, pray, pray for my family?

There’s no one like a friend.

So, I’m once again okay with (blessed by) stretching into another’s life. With letting her stretch into mine. The reward s are well worth the risk.

And as for Mrs. Brown?

Well, she prefers store-bought bread.

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