GIRLFRIENDS AND SHOES ARE A LOT ALIKE - 1010 Park Place
— Relationships —

GIRLFRIENDS AND SHOES ARE A LOT ALIKE

LEE, GAYLE AND ME A FEW MONTHS AGO... FRIENDS SINCE WE WERE 16.
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Today I heard Paul Simon’s “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, and it made me think about the women in my life. While our girlfriends may never walk in our proverbial shoes, they often stand with us–in the same space–and help us through things we never dreamed we’d have to face. They’re the diamonds on the soles of our shoes. 

If you think about it, great girlfriends and shoes are a lot alike: They’re comfortable, with just the right amount of support, in all the right places. 

I have great girlfriends! Every time we see one another, we pick up as though no time has elapsed since the last time we saw one another. And best of all… We accept one another, warts and all. 

Some of my girlfriends I’ve known since we were 16. For the most part we’re still the same girls we were in high school, but our shared experiences have deepened our bonds in ways we couldn’t have predicted.

Eight years ago four of us—and our husbands—got together to eat, drink and celebrate life. If a fortune teller had stepped into our midst that day and predicted what lie ahead, we would have told her to pack up her gypsy wagon and go sell crazy someplace else. But crazy happened, and to say it caught us all off-guard and toppled our worlds is an understatement. 

Four weeks after our get-together my husband died, unexpectedly, and our family dissolved. I haven’t seen or heard from any of them since. Three months later another girlfriend’s husband died, unexpectedly. Six months later her home was caught in the most destructive wildfire in Texas history, and a month after that, another one of those same girlfriends was diagnosed with breast cancer. This summer another one of us was also diagnosed with breast cancer. When we’re together, I don’t think we’ve ever shed a tear over these events. If anything it’s made us stronger, because each of us has set aside our own pain to reach for the other’s hand when she needed it most.

Friendship is one of the intangibles in life. It can’t be measured or quantified, but it’s found in the laughter and the unspoken words of a compassionate heart. A real friend steps in when you need help the most, when everyone else doesn’t know what to do or say. After James died, one special girlfriend called me every single night, without fail… for six months… until she was certain I was in a better place. 

When was the last time you called—not an email or a text—but called a girlfriend who’s helped you through a tough time? When’s the last time you told her how much you love and appreciate her? When’s the last time you encouraged her or just listened? Or maybe there’s someone with whom you’d like to be friends. It takes a long time to become an old friend, so what are you waiting for? We can never have too many diamonds on the soles of our shoes.

Love, Brenda

40 Comments

  • Reply C. November 3, 2018 at 6:03 am

    You have such a rich beautiful way with words, feel your connection with your best friends. So blessed. I haven’t friends like this. No one from past. Certainly am not without…. but being an introvert I am satisfied. A non risk taking gal—- I go out of my way to not make friends. I am a person who has many acquaintances and these are simply easy and not complicated. My family i am blessed to have- church family too. I just found in my 60+ years that I am comfortable and happy. I do admire those that share with a past of people they have history with….. just have found for me what works and is ( for me), less stressful.
    Enjoy the blog and your writing.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      C, Thank you for complementing my writing. I appreciate it. I’ve often wondered how we get to be introverts versus extroverts: if it’s in our DNA, the way we’re raised or a conscious decision on our part. I’m blessed to have almost every friend I’ve ever made. It’s not that we get together, a lot, but I know they’re there for me and vice versa. I think since my husband died, and I’m not inclined to have another man in my life, in many ways my girlfriends are my family. I’m happy you like my blog. Please keep reading, and I love seeing you here when you leave me a comment. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Marita November 3, 2018 at 7:31 am

    I enjoy your blog, particularly when you’re thinking deep thoughts and you express them so beautifully. Funny: When I read the title of this post, I found myself connecting great girlfriends with bras, as in “The right bra is comfortable with just the right amount of support, in all the right places.”

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Marita, LOL!! Yours is definitely a better analogy than my shoes! So funny! I’m grateful and happy you like my blog. It’s not always easy to be “deep” week after week! LOL! Plus I know people prefer to read what I write versus an interview or an interview with someone. I also know some of those pieces… like my interview with author, Cheryl Strayed, can run a little long, so I don’t blame people for not reading them. I wouldn’t read a long post on someone else’s blog, but somewhere out there are writers who will hang on her every word, so that’s worth it to me. Thank you!! Brenda

  • Reply Donna O'Klock November 3, 2018 at 8:10 am

    What a beautiful analogy… and reminder that to have great friends, you have to be a great friend. Pick up the phone and call!
    I will do that today. Thank you, Brenda!
    XO

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      Donna, Yes, in order to have a friend, we need to be a friend, and that’s time consuming and not always convenient, but it’s worth it. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Lisa the Sequinist November 3, 2018 at 9:48 am

    Such a lovely post Brenda, and such a great reminder to always express the gratitude in our hearts and minds to the people who mean so much to us and make life worth living. I grew up in a family that never expressed emotion AT ALL, so when I left the nest I made it a point to live the rest of my life differently. You have handled your tumultuous life path so gracefully and with such style; I really admire you.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      Thank you very much, Lisa, although you’re the one who should be admired. It’s not always easy to be a different person from our family of origin. I, too, decided to live my life differently… I didn’t want to be part of another parent/child relationship, and I wanted to be stronger than my mother. Even when I was a child I was conscious of that. Thank you for reading and for leaving a message. I hope you’re having a wonderful week! Brenda

  • Reply Samantha November 3, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    You absolutely touched my heart…thank you Brenda. XOXO

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      Awe… Thank you, Samantha! I appreciate it, and I’m glad. xoxo, Brenda

  • Reply Kona November 3, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    This was exceptional and so poignant. Left me rather choked up for a number of reasons. I have recently renewed a friendship that distance had upended. I am so grateful for the reminder and I did call.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      Kona, Life has a way of upending our world, doesn’t it? When that happens, it’s nice to have friends around us. I’m glad you made that call. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Beckye November 3, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    What a beautiful post, and such a sweet blessing to have such great friends! Thank you for the encouragement to make time for showing appreciation and the effort to build those relationships, Love and appreciate you, Brenda, and grateful for your encouragement!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      Dear Beckye, Even though we’ve never met, you’re one of my girlfriends… One of the diamonds on the soles of my shoes, and I appreciate and love you, Brenda

  • Reply Rebecca Forstadt Olkowski November 3, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    I have to get better at calling my friends. A few too many moves and it’s easy to lose touch especially when you work from home. Thanks for the reminder and glad you have such an awesome support group. Things in life happen that we have no control over. When you have friends supporting you, you can get through anything.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      Rebecca, Don’t beat yourself up about not calling. Our lives are packed with to-do lists and good intentions. Most all of us think about calling and then don’t, but sometimes an unexpected call of appreciation, a reminder we’re thinking of someone can be a much needed lifeline. Thanks for your awesome comment. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Jean November 4, 2018 at 7:37 am

    I’ve lost touch with so many of my past girlfriends — distance is a real issue sometimes. But Facebook has helped me stay in touch with a lot of them. I have so much trouble making friends but I finally have a wonderful circle of them here where I live and we all make an effort to see each other regularly. We do a monthly Ladies Lunch and a book club. I can’t imagine my life without these amazing women in it. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Jean, A lunch and a book club… Those are great ways to feel connected to one another, opportunities to bond and feel part of a group who knows us on a deeper level than just waving at the neighbors when we drive by. I’m happy you’ve found these amazing women because you can make a point of being there for one another when you’re needed. Thanks for reading and for leaving me a comment!! I appreciate you. Brenda

  • Reply Victoria November 4, 2018 at 9:56 am

    There is nothing like girlfriends. What is funny right now with my husbands’ illness is my newer friends have stepped up more so than my older friends. My older friends have offered to do anything but I have no idea right now what I need. My newer friends have just brought food, take care of picking things up they have heard me mention etc.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      Victoria, I read your last blog so I know you’re worried about your husband and the state of his health, and I’m sorry. Sometimes old friends may assume we have things under control, where new friends respond in the only way they know how, by doing things for us. Either way, lean on all of them as you need them, and don’t hesitate to ask for something if you need it. How ironic I’m saying that because when my first husband had cancer and then died, I never asked for help…. Dumb, dumb, dumb… After my second husband died, several groups of “newer” friends showed up at my door with food. What blessings they are. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Pat November 4, 2018 at 10:02 am

    What a powerful reminder to both appreciate girlfriends and seize the day. What a great analogy too. I hope that when my friends need me, I will be as loyal as your friend that called everyday for 6 months as you mourned the loss of your beloved partner.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 2:08 pm

      Thank you for your reply, Pat. The girlfriend who called me everyday for six months also sent me cards, food, invited me to her home… She gives the best, most thoughtful gifts that show how much she cares. She’s an extraordinary woman, and I’m blessed to have her in my life. Brenda

  • Reply Christina Daggett November 5, 2018 at 9:03 am

    I really enjoyed this post, Brenda. I never had many friends. I’ve always pushed them away, for some reason. I think it was about my own self-esteem issues. In mid-life I’m feeling better about myself and have met some wonderful people, while traveling, that I would call my friends.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 6, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      Hi Christina, Your comment gave me an ah-ha moment… Thank you! Looking back I realize a girlfriend I had in my early 20’s also had self-esteem issues. We shared a love of photography and would find places to go and take pictures. A lot of the time I felt like I was carrying the lion’s share of the conversation and inviting her to go with me. I knew she enjoyed our outings, but I realize her self-esteem issues kept her from being more gregarious and open. She once thanked me for showing her how easy is was to talk with people. Now I better understand why. Thank you, Brenda

  • Reply Natalie November 6, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Girlfriends are precious. Glad you have such an awesome support group, Brenda. I have girlfriends I’ve known since grade 6 and I treasure every one of them. #MLSTL

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 8, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Sixth grade! That is special, Natalie! I meet so many women who don’t have girlfriends, and it makes me sad. Thank you for stopping to read and leave me a comment. Brenda

  • Reply Debbie November 6, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of the hard times you and your friends have experienced recently. We just never know what is going to happen do we. Lovely thoughts here. #mlstl

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 8, 2018 at 8:58 am

      Thank you, Debbie. Life sometimes comes at us like a freight train that’s veered off course. Brutal and unexpected. Brenda

  • Reply Christine November 6, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    What terrible blows you and many of the others have suffered. I’m glad you had the support of some good friends. I was a little confused though – are you saying those who you thought were good friends disappeared and you haven’t seen them since?

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 8, 2018 at 9:00 am

      Hi Christine, No my husband’s family were the ones who disappeared after his death, and I haven’t heard from them since. It’s a tragic story actually, but one I won’t tell. My girlfriends are the ones who steadfastly stayed by my side after he died. They are nothing short of blessings. Thank you, Christine. Brenda

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au November 6, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    That was beautiful Brenda – I hope every woman has a friend (or more than one) who has her back and is there for her to celebrate the victories and to comfort in the defeats. You and your friends have been through some really awful times but I love how you have each other to hold onto. Life is a rollercoaster and having friends who share the ride with us is what helps get us through.
    MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 8, 2018 at 9:02 am

      I appreciate you, Leanne! I feel like you are a new girlfriend I have yet to meet. All of us go through unexpected setbacks and terrible times in our lives, and we all need a core group of people in who we can rely. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Jennifer Jones November 6, 2018 at 10:02 pm

    Brenda this is a beautiful post and it did make me think about my special friends. I have two special groups of friemds. One group arey book group friends, who I meet with monthly and sometimes in between times. Another group are my really really special friends. They are a little younger than me, bit there is no distinction between us. We meet up often for a meal followed by a fun night of dancing. You made me smile thinking about my friends, I’m very sorry to hear of the hard times you had. I’ve had some hard time where there has been no family support so I understand how important friends are #MLSTL Shared onSM

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 8, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Hi Jennifer, What a lovely comment you’ve left me. Thank you. It sounds as if you know tough times as well. Like you, I have different groups of friends, and all of them I cherish. Dancing!! I don’t have a group of dancing friends although I have a girlfriend who goes dancing, but unfortunately she’s a couple of hours away… One of us would just have to spend the night! Thanks again, Brenda

  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond November 7, 2018 at 12:06 am

    Hi Brenda, what a sad, sad time for each of you to endure and thank you for sharing your beautiful friendship with us at #MLSTL. I have two friends who I run with. We call ourselves the Saturday Sisters and meet each week for a run and a chat. We share our ups and downs and I know they would be there for me in a heartbeat if I needed them. Friendships such as yours and my Saturday Sisters are rare and well worth cherishing. Sending love and hugs to you all. xx I’m sharing on social media.

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 8, 2018 at 9:50 am

      I appreciate you, Sue! Because of you and Leanne I’m meeting a whole new group of women with whom I hope to become friends. “Saturday Sisters… ” I like that. I have a group of friends that we call ourselves the “Monday Night Dessert Society.” We’ve been together for 14 years and have bonded over just about every tragedy and celebration you can imagine. xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Candi Randolph November 7, 2018 at 5:06 am

    I love your analogy between girlfriends and shoes, and absolutely agree. I have just a couple of very close friends, and we have shared many tears as well as the tough times. Similar health issues and losses (I lost my husband a couple of years ago), and our faith and friendship has become even closer through those times. Thanks so much for sharing your life experiences. #MLSTL

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 8, 2018 at 9:54 am

      Hi Candi, I’m sorry to hear you and your girlfriends have experienced similar events in your lives, but few of us do not. One of my dearest groups of girlfriends have been together over 14 years and we have a Bible study group. I don’t even want to think about life without them! Thank you for reading my post and leaving me a message. I appreciate you, Brenda

  • Reply Christie Hawkes November 7, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    I was deeply touched by this post, Brenda. I’ve often said something similar about not believing it if someone had told me what life had in store for me and my loved ones. Among my sisters (biological or otherwise), six of us, one has had brain surgery, another open heart surgery, another cancer, two have had children with cancer, three of us have gone through divorce, one’s husband died at the young age of 36, and several of us have close family members suffering from addictions. We’ve survived all of this by supporting and loving each other. I can’t imagine going it alone. I’m immensely grateful that I didn’t have to, and that I could be there for my dear friends. #MLSTL

    • Reply 1010ParkPlace November 8, 2018 at 9:59 am

      Oh, Christie! Your sisters could be my sisters! I don’t know how people make it through life without a loving and trusting support system. We endure things that when we’re younger, we never would have imagined would happen to us or those we love. Sending you and your sisters love and wishing you all God’s blessings, Brenda

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