Tomorrow night is my monthly Book Club meeting. Don’t tell anybody, but I didn’t read the book. It just never happened. I am not going to hide and skip the meeting this time. I am going to cut myself some slack and go enjoy myself anyway. I was invited to join this Book Club by a good friend of mine. She had been telling me stories about the group for a while and they sounded like a great bunch of ladies, (and one book loving husband), but I really only knew my one friend out of the whole group. I wasn’t so sure that I would be able to find a place inside this community of women who had known each other and often worked together for many years.
Right from the start everyone was more than kind and accepting towards me. The meetings are increasingly elaborate with more cookies, cakes, drinks and laughs than the last. I tried to avoid being an anchor on more poor friend by making her drag me around all night introducing me and including me in her conversations. I have tried to relax and not let my anxiety rob me of enjoying the great company. Although I do still feel like a newbie, I did pass a milestone at our last meeting.
Last month was the Christmas Party. The tradition is that everyone brings an ornament that some how relates to one of the books read over the course of the year. The ornaments are then put in a pile and picked out in a Yankee Swap. Most of you are probably familiar with a Yankee Swap but basically everyone in the group draws a number and the gifts are chosen in that order. You may choose to swap your gift with anyone who picked before you. I happened to be seated next to the other new girl in the club when the ornament picking began. This should be fun, right? The only problem was these ornaments were really nice. Some of them were actually pretty fancy and I knew what was wrapped up in my box was nothing flashy! My neighbor and I looked at each other and whispered, “I thought these were supposed to be hand-made!”
All my old worries rose up. I was about to be exposed as a cheap, back woods loser who couldn’t even pull it together to buy a decent ornament for a Yankee Swap! Thankfully my wonderful new friend said I will pick your ornament and you can pick mine. What a wonderful humanitarian- salt of the earth- got your back- call me in a pickle woman she is! Sure enough, on her turn she opened my box and didn’t she act like this was the most clever thing she had ever seen. I hope I did the same for her. I can’t completely remember as the relief I was feeling sent me into a mild state of shock.
There is nothing like a good friend, even one you hardly know.
In the end my ornament was actually swapped a time or two. It just goes to show we are hardest on ourselves. As I sat back and watched as the rest of the ornaments were opened it was wonderful to listen to the laughter of these great women. Women who have faced some of life’s worst agonies together and found true comfort in one another. Women who have chosen to be together rather than alone. They are strong, brave and inspiring. The love, support, and grace embodied in this group is more than powerful it is palpable. I am lucky to have been invited to join their tribe. Even if they do lie and tell you everything is just “home-made”. I went home that night and said to my husband, as I do after every Book Club meeting, “They are just such a great bunch of ladies.” What more can you ask for?!
You can still sign up for the upcoming Brighten Your Light seminar series starting at the end of February by clicking this link http://lifeandfriendship.com/brighten-your-light-series-sign-up
Check the upcoming events page for more information about the seminars. Also check out the new Bio for our Dress To Be Your Best expert, Maria Cella, on the Meet the Experts page.