Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here's looking at you, Girlfriend!


Tell me Girlfriend: have you ever been jealous of that woman who seems to have it all?  You know, the woman who’s so darned gorgeous she looks like she’s waltzing across the mall like a princess, that her precocious children are actually throwing rose petals at her feet?  The one who’s linking arms with her Jim-Caviezel look-alike husband, whose muscles are flexing from all the Coach/Jimmy Choo/Sephora bags he’s just bought for her because he’s flying his family and all their friends to a spa resort in Barbados on their private plane since she’s just won the Nobel Prize for science for having discovered the cure to cancer, making you feel like you were this invisible girl in high school wishing you could trade places with the prettiest/smartest/most popular/richest girl in the whole wide teenage world?
            Me neither.
       I’m not jealous because one, since Al Gore, the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize just went downhill. Two, because I’m not fifteen years old anymore, under the spell of Beverly Hills 90210 and disoriented by all the medical treatment for acne.
         And three, maturity has the uncanny knack for helping you see what’s fleeting and what’s eternal; what your strengths and weaknesses are; what blessings you have been given and what curses you want to avoid; what kind of friends matter and what enemies to ignore; whose opinions to care for and which critics to discard; what beverages are healthy and which ones will cause early graves; which God to serve and what evil to fight.
Maturity is a time when you can finally say to that woman whom you thought had it all:  “Nanny nanny booboo! I don’t want to be you!”
Being past 15, and surviving the influence of 9 seasons of Friends, I realize however, that there are still women who are a cut above the rest, women I greatly admire for one reason or another.
I call a lot of these women my girlfriends and am fortunate to be related to a number of them. (For lack of a better term, I’ll call this collective group the ‘girlfriendhood’.) The girlfriendhood doesn’t know it until now, but I am their biggest groupie.  And the girlfriend who is reading this will know I am surely speaking about her.  Yes, my dear girlfriend, I am your fan.
Here’s why:
You may think you’re just the woman-next-door but you are truly extraordinary.  No matter what part of the spiritual journey you’re in, if you are seeking God’s love, you are my companion on my spiritual journey to sanctity.  God put you in my life for good reason: because He loves me.
Maybe your gift is to make me laugh like I was 15 again or you played an integral part in my most treasured memories.  Maybe you show me how to carry the cross with hope, dignity, humility and patience that would put Job (and I) to shame.  Maybe your opposing view challenges me to understand  or invites me to pray for us to see the light of truth.
         If we are birds of a feather, then you, dearest, strengthen my faith and my values.  Your love for your husband, (be he Jim Caviezel or Jim Carrey) witnesses to me what God intends the sacrament of marriage to be –a reflection of true love.  And your commitment to your children’s physical, spiritual and intellectual well-being gives me hope that the next generation will be rid of cancer.  If you are a single accomplished professional, then brace yourself: you create colorful characters for my literature and will be the friend I will call to bail me out.
I don’t care whether you shop for self-image at Sephora or resort to the smell of Walmart’s generic Equate shampoo; sing Amy Grant's "Friends are friends forever" better than Amy Grant herself or dance like Ginger Rogers with a broken leg; splurge at Whole Foods organic wine section or bake your own three-tiered peppermint-chocolate cupcakes; squeeze into size 2 Escada Couture jeans or make your maxi dresses out of two sets of curtains; carry your homemade Sak-imitation crocheted purses or trot in Jimmy Choo platforms; tan at your Barbados vacation home or don’t own a beach house that I can crash, because your soul is beautiful when it shines with the light of Christ. If you must know, it is your faith, hope and love for God, neighbor and me that binds me to you.
Girlfriends, your lot is varied and vast because there is no one perfect wonder woman who is wrapped in a single package. Each of the girlfriend-hood has one or two gifts and plenty of virtues to teach the other, share with the other, and make us all want to be better versions of ourselves -- into what God imagines and hopes we will become.
 So the next time you think you’ve gotten a raw deal on lucky stars from heaven and feel the green-eyed monster casting glances at other girlfriends, please look in the mirror. You know who you are and what you’re made of and I love you for it.  So does God. 

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