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.