‘A loving woman is indestructible.’
I came across this phrase by Steinbeck several weeks ago, and I loved it so much that I scribbled it on a card and stuck it to my wall. It catches my eye every time I sit down, and thus I’ve had plenty of time to mull it over. I’m blessed to have known many loving women in my lifetime – my mother, more than anyone, has provided a ceaseless example of what fierce, patient, female love looks like. But this particular month has brought the subject of friendship into the forefront of my thoughts, and so I want to take a moment and talk about four very different women I know, and their four very different styles of love. They remind me of the elements – each varied and different, each unique and so strong it amazes me.
She is a flame, loving with a burning passion that singes and sears with fierce heat. She is the fire that never goes out, the beacon buffeted by wind and rain that may occasionally flicker down to embers, but which rises again at the first opportunity. We greet each other with ‘Morning!’ and delve immediately into discussions about history or philosophy – but on those days, the days that aren’t so motivated or inspiring, we might just exchange comfort and exchange Pinterest links. When I had begun to freeze over, her warmth thawed me before I had time to turn to ice. She is a paradox – a white-hot fire, as stalwart as a stone pillar.
She is the many forms of water. She is rain, giving rain where I am dry, giving me enthusiasm where I have none. She is the ocean, deep and dark and turquoise, holding more wonder and mystery, terror and beauty than anyone fully knows. She makes me laugh harder than anyone I know, and encouragement is her middle name – even on the days when she doesn’t feel it. Like playing in the rain refreshes my spirit, so Lauren’s kind of love refreshes and cleanses. She is the roaring of a waterfall and the companionable whisper of rain on tree-leaves.
She is the soft deep-green moss of spring and the brilliant red-orange hues of autumn. She is the wonder of fireflies, twinkling like stars in a summer thicket. She is the deep silence of falling snow and the dazzling brightness when the sun shines off ice. She reminds me of the way winter slides into spring; when the mornings are still cold and leave the earth touched with crystal frost, but then the sun rises and the mist clears, showing the fresh, green shoots pushing up through the hard-packed ground. She is honesty, wit, and beauty.
She is the playful breeze that tousles your hair, or the raging wind that sweeps the desert clean and re-arranges the sand in new, artistic ways. She is kept always busy by the turning of the earth, but she is always there; always ready and willing. She can make herself invisible and silent, or she can bring scents of faraway spice caravans and the sounds of voices telling new stories. She is mischievous or soothing, kicking up my inspiration like leaves, tugging my hair so I turn and see something I had missed before.
Each of these women is incredibly unique and incredibly strong. All love in different ways, and all – I am convinced – they are far more indestructible than they think, because when they love, they love with strength, endurance, and passion. My life is infinitely brighter and richer with them in it, and I am constantly amazed that God saw fit to bless my existence by bringing it alongside with theirs. They have shown me what friendship looks like, in all its varying, crazy, beautiful forms, and I am forever grateful.