Homework notes…


pe-hi-anne-shirley-sullivan

 

Lately I need a little more help. I’m seeing someone who helps me focus on values, aspirations, problems and issues that need be addressed, and new ways of doing things. It’s not the first time I’ve sought counselling, and each time I engage I find it good. I go in feeling nervous, I come out feeling lighter. I desire change.

My homework this week is to identify 5 women I admire and the reasons why. I thought, why not do this here and then open things up to discussion. And an invitation for you to do the same exercise, if you wish. These women can be historical, fictional, family, or friend. And men, identify 5 men. Or, open it up to 5 individuals… men or women, I don’t think it matters that much. Or, does it? Anyway…

5 Women I Admire:

1. Anne Shirley (as in Anne of Green Gables). I am attracted to her spunky, out-of-the-box personality, her way of testing boundaries, her committed devotion to her bosom friend Diana, her outspokenness, her marginalization yet stick-at-it-ness and make-the-best-of-it, her love of flowerly language and books, her way of rising above pain and circumstance and sticking to her guns. I was that girl. I still want to be her.

2. Christina Cook (my maternal grandmother) who spent 25 years of her life as a paraplegic, confined to a wheelchair, her every personal and functional need taken care of by my grandfather, Jimmy. I am attracted to Chrissie’s strength, her resilience, her way of being strong and in charge within herself, not afraid to ask, not afraid to speak, give opinion. She loved the details of life, paid attention to the people around her, and watched All-Star Wrestling every Sunday. Her faith was a solid, and for the most part unspoken, foundation. The love relationship between her and my grandfather was beautiful to see.

3. A woman who shall remain nameless here for privacy reasons. An intelligent, accomplished, energetic, alive, bright spark of a woman who loves with every breath in her body the people in her sphere of influence. Her capacity to remember things, to know the deep things about so many different people, astounds me. I love her heart, her passion, her way of making a contribution equal to that of her husband, who is also a man of great impact. Their marriage is something of curious attraction to me… I want to know how they do it. They seem to do it so very well.

and now it’s getting a little easier, and I only need 2 more…

4. Another woman who will remain nameless for privacy reasons. And it doesn’t matter her name, more who she is. She is a rock. She is grounded in her faith. She has proven this over a number of years where she carves out time to meet with the one who loves her most EVERY day. (well, maybe she misses sometimes, but most days). She takes her pain to God. She gets her strength from God. She is able to talk about the most difficult of topics with a grounded love and empathy and compassion that can only come from God. She takes time to reach out to the hurting ones, even when she barely knows them. She prioritizes people over things, over tasks, over everything. NO, she is not a fictitious person, she is very, very, real. She takes care of her friends, her body, her home, her spirit, what she has been given to care for… very well. She is well balanced.

5. A young woman who will remain nameless for privacy reasons. What I admire most about her is the combination of incredible ability with humility. She has many areas she excels at, yet she shows no indication of her ego getting in the way of her heart, or of attitude seeping in. It is beautiful to see.

Well, that wasn’t as hard as I thought. I think I could keep going and maybe I will.

6. Eowyn of Ithilien, Shieldmaiden of Gondar (LOTR) as a female, heroic, strong, capable woman who finds her role in the bigger story BECAUSE she is a woman, not in spite of being female. She is ‘no man’. And because of this, she overcomes the evil witch king. She is an overcomer. And I guess I could honestly say I am attracted and I admire every strong female role in every movie I watch. Hmmm…

For now, please join in. Who do you admire most. Why?

Lesley-Anne

Eowyn+in+battle

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Anne Shirley, BFF’s and why girlfriends matter…


Free Anne of Green Gables quote poster

Image by the green gal via Flickr

Here is something I wrote for my friend and writing mentor, Heidi McLaughlin, for inclusion in her new book, ‘Sand to Pearls’. You can pick up your copy online at Amazon.ca, Barnes and Noble, from Heidi McLaughlin, or at your local Christian Bookstore.

This morning I had the opportunity to sit with a vibrant young girlfriend of mine over a cup of ‘Americano’. We sat on stools at the coffee shop window, and talked about stuff like relationships and jobs and the economy.  An hour later we hadn’t come to any conclusions.  Yet, as I headed out the door to my day, I felt something shift — a hopeful kind of energy had begun to percolate inside me.

My life is full of these type of girlfriend encounters.  God has splashed the canvas of my life with a colourful collection of women who overwhelm me with their unique beauty. They widen my understanding of friendship with their hilarious and serious, gracious and goofy, energetic and organized, wise and spiritual, artistic and technical, youthful and experienced selves in my blessed life.  From my type ‘A’ friends to more reserved ones, the ones I see often, to those who I know only virtually, my life is rich and fun and livable because they are all my friends.  I would be lost without them.

When I was a little girl I had dreams.  And, like other little girls, I dreamed that I would someday become a teacher, an artist, a veterinarian, even a heroine in a fantastic story.  I also dreamed of having a best friend — another human being who understood me completely.  Like Anne Shirley and Diana Barry, I longed for ‘a bosom friend’ with whom I could share life, through thick and through thin.

This notion of having one special friend that was ‘closer than a brother’ effected many relationship decisions I made. I tried, trusted, and then mistrusted females in my life who didn’t fulfill my vision perfectly. And I experienced broken relationships, including ones where I did the breaking. A lot of pain in my life was caused by this childish fantasy of finding one ultimately fulfilling relationship.

Mid point in my life, I’ve finally come to realize that God never planned for me to place a  ‘BFF’ on the pedestal of my life. No girlfriend or husband or child is meant to be there. That place is reserved for God alone.   God wants to be my best friend forever.  So I’m trying to lean into that truth, and remove the pressure of my needs on my human friends. How could I have been so blind for so long?

With God in his rightful place, I can see that he has given me exceedingly more than the realization of my dreams.  God has collected a wonderful plethora of female friends and said to me, “Here, these are for you… these unique, timely, divinely assigned friends are for you, just as you are for them.”  My God given girlfriends custom blend of humour, grace, wisdom, soul wrenching honesty, and spiritual connectivity, are just what I need, at precisely the time I need, for whatever God needs me to learn, change, grow in or go through.

So I thank God for each one of them, and for the way that he uses them to plant tiny seeds of hope in me. And when he brings along someone new, I get quite giddy dreaming of the possibilities of how God will work through this girlfriend-in-waiting. I trust that he’s got that all figured out, just like everything else.

Thankful…Lesley-Anne