My circle of friends has saved or changed my life too many times to count. And that circle is always contracting and expanding. I lost some friends to religious differences (theirs, not mine) and gained others as motherhood and The View took me to new places, figuratively and literally. But over my lifetime, my girlfriends have given me a stability I couldn't find in my relationships or, sometimes, even in my own family. They encouraged me to try stand-up comedy, covered for me when I was late for work, told me when it was time to leave a no-good man. (Okay, men. There was more than one.) They prayed for me and then reminded me I could pray, too.
Often, we get so caught up in the impossible task of doing everything "right" that we forget to reconnect with our roots. Our base. Strength can be found in comfort, and sometimes all you need is a familiar voice to say, "Girl, I hear you."
Sound familiar? If so, then write yourself a permission slip to call an old friend and pick up where you left off.
Oh, hey, speaking of old friends, I should probably add God to that list. Atheists, feel free to roll your eyes and skip ahead a few pages. Just understand that I'm not preaching, I'm sharing. And if you think I'm a lunatic, that's okay. I would be honored to be your goofy, lunatic friend.
I know many people who were, like me, raised in a strict religion. And if, as an adult, you resist adhering to the strict rules you were raised with as a child, it's important to remember that you can have your own relationship with God. You don't need to go through a church elder, a pastor, a minister, or a priest to pray. Lots of people rebel against their church. How many ex- Catholics, Mormons, Baptists, and Witnesses do you know? Some of us stray so "far" that we think we are unreachable, that we can't return to God. You might be reading this thinking, Well, that's fine for you, Sherri, but I've had abortions and promiscuous sex; I've hurt people I love.
All I have to say to you is, "Ditto."
I'm living proof that at any point in your rebellion, you can drop to your knees, close your eyes, clasp your hands together, and say, "Hi."
You will not get yelled at or told to sit in a corner. You will be welcomed back like the prodigal son, and if your homecoming is anything like mine, you will wonder why you ever left.
It has been my experience that God just wants you back. Remember running away from home when you were a kid? When you returned, the fi rst thing your mom did was hug you and cry.
The second thing she did was grab a wooden spoon, bend you over her knee, and swat you hard on the behind, yelling, "Don't you ever run away again."
Coming home to God is like that, minus the punishment-- because you're already doing that to yourself. We are rarely having real fun during those "away" spells. I believe that God doesn't pull out the wooden spoon upon our return because being away from Him is enough of a swat on the behind. He just hugs us and cries with delight.
I truly don't know how atheists do it--they must have stronger constitutions than I do, because the times I've been without God have been the loneliest times in my life. And all that pain was selfinflicted. I could've made the call at any time, I just didn't think God would want to hear from me after all the things I'd done.
Boy, was I wrong.