I think that the term best friend has lost some of its flavor. Back in the day-day, best friends were as distinguishable as the smell of curry in the hallway of a diverse apartment building in D.C. If a girl said that someone was her best friend, you could best believe that the two of them would be melded together like the sweet, sticky syrup to the dough on a cherry pastry. And consistently so–no matter what! They’d take on each other’s personalities, look out for each other, and fight (of course), but they would essentially create a world made just for the two of them, through which they would freely and creatively express themselves and in which they would endeavor to live for the rest of their lives.
But now it seems like a BFF has been reduced to a fad, the latest trend. And as her ability to accessorize with your life changes, so do the ideals of friendship. For some people, that term-BFF needs to be amended to BFFN–Best Friend For Now! And I am so sad to report that there are even some of us who can’t say that we have very many friends at all–much less a best friend. I hear so many women proudly say, “I don’t do women. I prefer to deal with men, ’cause women are just too much.” And I think that’s just a shame. I really believe that we are a reflection of each other and if we refuse to unite then what side of ourselves are we giving each other to reflect upon? And why are we okay with that?
Well, I have come as the BF Fairy to restore your faith in friendship! (get excited) One fateful day (some years ago today, in fact), the giver of all good and perfect gifts opened up the windows of heaven and poured me out a blessing , and even now, this woman is my ride or die, tried and true homie. I am so grateful that I get to call my mom one of my dearest, bestest, good friends. I’ve shared my whole, whole, life with her. She’s seen me inside and out, ugly and beautiful and yet she still loves me. And she still chooses me, day after day. She calls me, just to talk, just to know what’s going on with me and to share what’s going on in her life, with me. She trusts me. She was careful not to befriend me too soon. She did me the honor of making sure that I had her love as my mommy before she ever thought of me as a friend. And it’s because of her that I can dream impossible dreams and pray with faith that the Lord will sift through them and give me what He deems best for me. She is one of the most sweet-hearted women I’ll ever know. I’ve never seen strength and vulnerability contained so beautifully in a person as with my mom. She’s my shoulder to cry on, laughing buddy, prayer partner, my biggest fan. And I would not be who I am today if it were not for her. There is no tribute effective enough to do her justice. You’d have to meet her to know that these few words were a meager attempt and only hint at the wonder of God’s goodness that she personifies. She’s inspiration and aspiration to all things higher and greater. My mommy.
I have a friend who, over the years, has transcended as more than my friend–she is my sister. I can try to minimize our relationship to words just so that I can tell you exactly how and why it’s been as sweet as it is and still the best that I can say is that in her heart, there I sit–along with her mother, her family, the greatest loves of her life and her darling baby girls. Her actions toward me have been the spokesperson for these sentiments. She’s always wanted me to be a part of her life and she has done her share of the work to make it happen. She tells me all the time that she is going to be the Gayle to my Oprah and this is not because she is settling for being a Gayle until she finds her inner Oprah but because she believes in me wholeheartedly and she gives me the strength, courage and wisdom to pitch my tent among the stars while I rest and dream on a cloud. I can see the beauty of who I am, and who I aspire to be, naturally reflected in the light of her essence. She’s been like a mother’s love–comforting, correcting, and sacrificing so that I can be, me. Of course we’ve had our fights and our friendship has suffered some turmoil. I’ve wanted to slam and suplex her but I honestly cannot imagine my life without her. She’s my BFF.
But here’s the real doozy: I have so many wonderfully incredible women in my life who, through the years and even right now, have deeply effected who I am. In some cases they have been better to me than I to them. There is so much grace in that. I am a big ole mess and if anyone were to decide to give up on me, I couldn’t hold an argument worthy of making them change their mind. But I’ve got some sit-ins-at-the-lunch-counter-during-the-civil-rights-movement kind of women in my life! They shall not be moved!! Each woman who I have the privilege of calling mine in any capacity is a representation of the truth I seek as I grow and develop as a woman of integrity, a woman of grace, a woman of standard, a woman of God. They not only are friends, they are goals, for if I can but strive to attain the beauty of self and character that these women possess I just may become the first real-life superwoman. Yes, I love my best friend and her light shines brightly in my life but the evolution of my refinement is continued in the summer, spring, winter and fall that are all of my friends and some of the women in my family and church as well.
Through my life I celebrate you all–a beautyFULL, spring bouquet in the center of an elegant table setting. You allow me to adorn myself in the petals of your love and grace and in so doing you have given me the confidence to sashay about with confidence in this harsh, judgemental, mean world. As my stilettos leave holes in the ground, I continue your legacy, inviting those who come behind me to plant a seed in fertile soil–the results of which will be deep, strong roots and the rich, succulent fruit of God’s productivity yielded through me from you.
And all of this– not simply because of me but because God loved me so much that he specifically and thoughtfully placed all of you in my life.