I’ve been blessed over the years to have good, solid girlfriends. You know, the ones with whom you’ve been through the highs and lows together, the family spats, the boyfriend troubles, marriage woes, births of children, rites of passage, even riffs between and among the girlfriends, only to survive with a stronger sense of friendship and self.
Most specifically, I am reflecting on a mantra we released into the universe every time one of us would meet a new beau. We would remind each other that if the man needed correction, we were up for the job. “Tell him you’ve got a girlfriend who carries a razor under her tongue,” we’d say with narrowed eyes and a little neck action. (Not to mention the fathers, uncles, brothers, nephews, cousins, and Pookie down the street.) “Ain’t nobody playin’.”
Still our mantra, and now in our late 30’s and 40’s, we’ve become Sisters in Christ along the journey of trials, travails, and tribulations– coming into our own and learning to understand that we actually had no control over other people’s actions, just our own. We know now that when we exercise our free will without the benefit of prayer and allowing God to guide us, anything was bound to happen. So our muscle-flexing mantra was merely a threat (well, for some of us).
But what hasn’t changed is that we still have each other’s backs. And as we ponder life together, we’re there to tenderly pick each other up when someone or something has carelessly handled and left us in a crumpled heap, and to celebrate at every turn when the downside turns right-side up. And not only do we lift each other up and have each other’s backs, but we have learned how to pray together unceasingly because we know that prayer is the ultimate constant in our lives and is life-changing.
We’re just like paper, fragile and easily torn but tough enough to carry the stories that reveal the light at the end of a very long tunnel. When crumpled, paper is still paper. Uncrumpled, sometimes even taped back together, it is ready to serve its purpose again, bearing the scars and folds of its life. We recognize that we come from good stock: rooted trees that gave all they had to create and send us out into the world.
I thank God for the paper handlers who love me, crumples and all. They ain’t playin’.