Friends Through Thick and Thin

I fed my soul last weekend in Janesville, Wisconsin.

For four days I bonded yet again with an incredible group of women who have been my friends for 34 years.  The eight of us have met at least six times a year, sharing our lives and our stories during graduate school and beyond—career highs and lows, growing families, personal hardships, aging parents, and of course, my stroke and identity evolution. We have been through the proverbial (and literal) thick and thin together and have a deep appreciation for the power of this group.  It is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

While seated around the dining table at Nancy’s inviting home in Janesville, I shared how I recently found out that the Feminine Studies class I was slotted to teach this spring wasn’t going to happen. I also shared how I was feeling depressed and somewhat adrift.  My book’s publication date keeps getting pushed out; I can’t write it on my own, so I depend on others to push it along.  Now I can’t teach as I’d planned.  I’m feeling more and more marginalized.  Looking around at these women, I could feel their compassion.  More importantly, I could feel their strength.

In no uncertain terms they told me to stop whining about what I couldn’t change, and to start making things happen.  Flying home, I felt I had made a shift.  I felt more confidence and hope than I did on my way there.  I now have a list of ideas of how to teach outside the confines of a classroom, a list of action items to achieve the goal, and a list of people who can help the process along.  This will help me stay focused and productive while the book process continues.

I love these women so much.  And I know they love me too.  I am lucky to have so much love in my life.