I scroll through Instragram and Facebook and Twitter feeds and I’m always struck by how many incredibly smart women are hanging out together at different events, singing each others praises on social media after they’re away from each other in their own homes in their own parts of the country.
I often (nearly all of the time) find myself thinking, “I wish I were there with those incredibly smart women hanging out together.” Although, in my head it sounds more like Liz Lemon’s simple, “I want to go to there.”
And it’s true, because it’s a great desire of my heart to surround myself with incredibly smart women who hang out together and talk about books and God and church and friendship and parenting and mentoring and art and music and all the other things that incredibly smart women talk about. I want to borrow from their passions, feed them into my own, and wake up every morning excited to put a little more love in the world.
While scrolling Instagram this morning I saw three of the writers whom I love all posed for a lovely photo, smiling and laughing and generally enjoying the treat of being in the same place at the same time. It’s written all over their faces. And I had the thought that I always have about wanting to be there where those incredibly smart women are, talking about writing and books and art and whatever it is that incredibly smart women talk about it. But, then I had another thought. A better thought. A thought that made me grateful for my friends and the incredibly smart people that they are.
I don’t need to go anywhere to be surrounded by women who are smart, and beautiful, and loving, and doing things to make the world a better place. I don’t need to be anywhere else to talk about books and movies and art and God and theology and parenting and mentoring and church and whatever it is that smart women talk about. We’re talking about those things all of the time. The smart women I want to surround myself with are already surrounding me.
My mom friends are raising tiny humans who are funny and kind, and one day these tiny humans will grow into big, adult humans who are kind and funny. The older I get, the more I realize just how much being kind and funny can change the world.
My girls are students of social work and teaching and music and art and biology, and they talk about how they want to use what they’re learning to help people. Not in abstract ways, but in real, in-the-messes-with-people-everyday kind of ways. And I’m in awe of them, really. They get how Love works.
I have friends who are college professors and elementary school teachers; engineers and mathematicians; accountants and book keepers; writers, photographers, and artists; entrepreneurs and community developers. They run non-profits, and they run their homes. They create in their work and in their lives safe spaces for people to be exactly who they are, to crash and fall apart, and they help them put the pieces back together again.
All of these women I get to call my friends are extraordinary. And smart. And beautiful. And putting a little love into the world everyday.
But, the reason it doesn’t make it onto Instagram and Facebook and Twitter is because we’re doing nothing more than living our lives side-by-side. It’s ordinary, and the ordinary things aren’t usually the things you stop to document.
But maybe we should?
Maybe I should. I need to do a better job of appreciating the ordinary life right in front me. I want to make the most of the expected rhythms of Tuesday night Bible studies, and coffee shops work days, and dinner with my folks. I want to soak in the afternoons of babysitting my nephew and niece-in-loves and the coffee dates with my girls. And I want to wear out my welcome in my best friends’ homes.
The life I have right in front me, in all of its ordinariness, is extraordinary. It’s a gift. And I don’t want to squander it. I want to be present to the life that’s right in front me instead of constantly wishing I were some place other.
Right here, right now, these people, this ordinary life – this is where I want to be.
I want to go to there.