Some years ago, several friends came together to befriend a young woman who was really hurting from the aftereffects of a horrific marriage. We recruited a counselor friend into our group, knowing none of us had the expertise to deal with the hard, hard issues that were a part of this woman’s suffering. As time went on, the woman decided our group was not what she needed, and she moved on. But the rest of us stayed together, dubbing ourselves the “Ya-Ya’s”, after the women friends in the movie and book Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells. What a treasure this group has been to each other.
One of us usually plans the get-togethers. Sometimes they’re serious, and we find we have a place to pour out our grief and pain and be embraced by the arms of those who love us. Other times, we are laughing nearly hard enough to wet our pants. Over the years, we have celebrated birthdays and a wedding, eaten together – at places that don’t serve hamburgers! – prayed together, vented, shared deep sorrows, welcomed a new friend from Germany, and loved each other so very much. Several of us have experienced (or are living now in) difficult situations, and we can’t change that for each other. But we can listen, we can be present, we can point each other the way back to God. I’m thinking that, in living out our friendship, we are seeing Jesus up close. As we are with each other, so he is with us.