I was thinking of that cheesy old Girl Scouts song the other day…”make new friends but keep the old” and all that. I don’t really remember why I was thinking about it at the time, but I suddenly realized that I have a distinct dearth of girlfriends in the conventional sense of the word. I have a couple of old friends with whom I haven’t kept in touch very well until recently, two sisters (one blood, one in-law), two mothers (same), a college roommate, and more recent (meaning within the last five years) church friends, but thanks in large part to my sporadic attempts at communication, none of us are so close that we chat daily about whatever is going on. (Okay, okay, it’s pretty much all due to my ghetto-ness when it comes to actually staying in touch!) That thought makes me somewhat sad when I read books with the sort of girlfriend theme that’s so popular or talk to any of my friends that have girlfriends with whom they’re very close.

I think my problem is that I often don’t feel comfortable unloading on any one particular person other than my husband, so I end up parceling out my emotions a lot of times to different people in small, neat packages. Obviously Danny is my best friend, but sometimes I think it would be nice to talk to someone else who isn’t quite as directly affected by my various issues. πŸ™‚ Maybe also I’m just not good about keeping people up to date with what I’m thinking and feeling when they’re not right there in front of me — whenever I’m with any of the people listed above I can talk about what’s going on, but I rarely reach out unprompted to unburden myself on them. I’m not always sure this is such a bad thing — surely there are things that I worry about or spats Danny and I have that don’t really need to be shared with anyone else, but every now and then I get struck with a little sense of loneliness.

Jessie will probably laugh to herself as she reads that last part, since I’ve been praying about why it is that I don’t maintain close friendships for long periods of time — for what is it now, Jessie, two years? — in our lay counselor training courses and Elijah House. Apparently the work is not yet done, although I take it as a positive sign that I find myself wanting that sort of closeness of late instead of doing my normal trick of shutting everyone and everything that’s not right here with me out of my conscious thoughts.

Part of my problem is that I’m feeling the ends-of-the-earth feeling right now, I think. I can’t call anyone up and go to coffee, at least not anyone that I would actually want to really talk to. My closest female friend here I guess is my boss, and for obvious reasons there are things I would rather not air out in front of her! Since I have so little free time (I got home from work yesterday at 1 in the morning…I guess that was technically today, actually!), this blog is the closest I’ve come to being in regular contact with the people I love since we got here, and it’s not exactly the same as personal contact no matter how you slice it. But for right now it will have to do!

Another funny thought — when I was a little younger a good number of my close friends were males, but not so much any more. Maybe it’s being married, or maybe it’s being here, where it often seems that most men are not entirely convinced that they can’t get somewhere with you even if you’re married and they’re married. (Based on what I’ve seen the old military adage of “what happens on TDY stays on TDY” is definitely based on some kernel of truth, be they married or not.) I never thought I would be the “girlfriends” type of person, but there is something to be said for being able to talk to another woman as equals.

On a slightly unrelated note, I discovered a new, or at least new to me, Newsboys song today that I’m totally obsessed with right now. The lyrics look like it would be a sad song, but it’s actually really uplifting. As any of you who know me well could probably guess, I’m much more interested in the words than in the music, so of course all I can find online is a link to the lyrics, but here it is if you’d like to read them: When the Tears Fall. I’m sure you can also listen to it online somewhere…it’s on the “Devotion” album.

On a more cheerful note, Danny and I are escaping reality in brief bursts by planning our next R&R, which will be to China in late September. More details on that later, but it’s fun playing virtual tourist and trying to narrow down everything we want to see and do into a feasible itinerary!