Remember in middle school when we started carrying purses? Whenever there was a spare moment, “can I look in your purse?”. We would pilfer through the tissues and chap stick, the band-aids and tampons, looking for something that hadn’t occurred to us to carry. Hey, she has nail polish in her purse! I have some at home I am going to put in my purse when I get home. Then my purse will look fuller, like hers. It was so important to look like you had important stuff in your purse. The emergency safety pin when Marie’s bra-strap was showing. (Back then, a showing bra strap was trashy and would never get you asked to prom like it does today!) And you had to have tissues for Meredith when Mark broke up with her for the 5th time. If I didn’t have it ready and waiting, she may turn to Sherrie and I would loose my rank as Meredith’s best friend. Having essentials in your purse was critical to the social order of middle school.
In the grown up world, things haven't changed that much. However, as adults we carry our experiences, relationships and hopes and emotions and dreams our purses. We cling to them, hold them close, “ I don’t want anyone looking in my purse with out my permission”. Carol, you need some sympathy? Here, let me look. No, I am all out. Maybe Martha has some in her purse she can give you, she went through a painful divorce. I bet she has a lot of sympathy for you.
“Liz, how is that situation at work going for you?”,
“Here, Tricia, look in my purse, it is awful!!”,
“Not to worry, Liz, in my purse I have some compassion right here next to my extra-strength love.”
But to let someone look in your purse, you have to be in the right setting. You really have to trust the girlfriend. On a girls night out, your closest friends bring their big ‘ol bags full of stuff to share: guilt, sympathy, laughter(always bring a wallet full of laughter!!) we even bring our secrets in the zipper pocket. Those secrets may be shared with one or two in the group, on an intimate trip to the bathroom.
On a girls weekend, I bring my suitcases filled with hurt, anger, confusion, personal growth charts and emotional pain graphs. I might bring a PowerPoint presentation of the horrible way I am disappointing my teenage daughters! Some times we pack naughty secrets in our makeup bag. I start collecting these items as soon as I write on my calendar the date of the trip. When we arrive at the destination, we begin unpacking slowly, a little sadness here and a little guilt there. We shake out some embarrassing moments that are quickly soothed with giggles and a warm smile. As the weekend gets rolling, we take our bags and shake them upside down, shame and crushed feelings, proud mommy moments, all come tumbling out all over the floor...we are wide open. At this point there is usually an empty bottle of wine somewhere on the premises.
I love to share. I will share just about anything, except my husband, of course! I will share my food and recipes, my time and skills, my devotion and love. I will share my secret pain and wildest laughter. Sharing it all, giving it out, I know will bring it back to me ten fold. Just like the Bible teaches.
"Hey, Tammy, I have some bad decisions here in my purse, meet me in the girls bathroom between classes and I will show you!! And don't forget to bring your extra-strength love, I am going to need it!