Last week, a very close friend- the kind that allows me to bare my soul without fear- told me she is moving a thousand miles away. Oddly, this friendship took root and deepened in a relatively short amount of time compared to women I have known far longer. I don’t think I love her more than I do my other precious friends, because I genuinely cherish them all. I think it’s more that we have experienced such similar stories.

A mysterious thing happens when we discover a kindred heart. In spite of life’s disappointments, we share and delight in small triumphs. It strengthens and encourages us both to keep pressing on. We know the hurt that underlies outward bravery. It’s a secret sisterhood of overcoming, of showing up, of remaining filled with gratitude and staying fascinated with life even when faced with difficulty. She’s a person who has stayed positive and made a big impact on the lives of many- even though she was completely unaware of the example she was setting.

My friend has reached a time when she will take a step closer to finding her bliss. Way down in her soul she knows she is being called deeper into finding her purpose, her calling. While a part of me is wildly cheering her on, I am selfishly sad and a touch envious that she is further along the path than I am now. Still, it encourages me that my time will come as well.

What has this taught me? Three things come to mind right away.

  1. It hurts but it’s worth it. Throughout life, our path will intersect with all kinds of people. Sometimes it‘s fleeting and other times the journey alongside each other is longer. On rare occasions, we’ll run into someone who immediately resonates deep in our spirit. I hear the words I tell my daughter to comfort her at times like this, about the way incredible friends will appear and shine brightly for a time but most will travel on by and become a warm memory. I tell her that this is how life works. It sounds hollow now as I say goodbye to this friend of mine.
  2. We must make time for friends. Few things matter more to the quality of a woman’s life and even her longevity than having good women friends. Sharing, supporting, cheering and consoling all come naturally to women. We are good at it, and we need it in a way that even the most exemplary husband can’t quite match. Women are the glue that holds a community together. There are things that can wait. Being a friend can’t.
  3. Grown-ups are constantly developing just like children do. Somewhere along the way we forgot our needs change as the years do. Adults develop and mature throughout life. In the early years of raising small children, women need to compare notes and encourage each other through physical and emotional exhaustion. As we reach the “empty nest”, we must challenge each other to stay focused on the present and future instead of what lies behind us. In later years we may need the wisdom, comfort and humor of friends as we deal with loss of physical ability and the loss of loved ones.

I wish I had made more of things while I had the chance. I know my friend and I can span the miles with emails, phone calls and Facetime but there’s something magic about a hug, a touch, a pat on the shoulder. After many tissues, as my tears dry, I know the very best thing I can do to honor this incredible relationship is to be more loving, more supportive, and more appreciative of all the wonderful women I call my friends. Now, who can I invite to coffee?

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn't? Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick. The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses. She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.