I really loathe having to post something negative, but I do so here because I know you are wise women and I am need of good support and counsel with regards to a difficult issue.
Essentially, my dilemma boils down to this: 1) I am twenty-six yrs. old and all of my childhood friends think I am nuts. 2) I am not sure that I should care.
I recently finished a month-long vacation at my parents’ home in San Diego, CA. While there I met up with four of my closest friends from junior and senior high school for breakfast and conversation. Over the course of several painful hours it became blatantly clear that, not only did we no longer have anything in common, but also that they have a hard time respecting the decisions I am making with my life and made no attempt to act as if they did. The morning was peppered with scornful comments about me “not working” and shocks of disbelief when they put it all together that “I had REALLLY NEVER used birth control?!” By the end of the morning I felt myself hurrying to change my infant son’s cloth diaper before their incredulous stares and get the heck out of dodge. These girls’ outfits probably cost, on average, $150 more than my ensemble (not hard to do, mind you), and only one of them is in a serious relationship.
So, now you understand the situation, then, confusingly enough followed my ambivalent reflection on the bizarre reunion. I am a very drastic person, so in the fog of my feelings of isolation and defensiveness I was immediately beset by such thoughts as, “whatever, I don’t need friends.” “What is the point of friends who criticize that which I hold most dear?” But since those initial overreactions –things have become a bit murkier for me.
I am conflicted about the fact that I do enjoy female companionship, but know that it can become so toxic so easily, especially with non-Christians. Let’s face it, as an NFP, stay-at-home mother of two in my twenties I am seriously in the minority– if I hold out for friends who share my values exclusively I will be friendless on my Army post in Germany. Should it matter if I am friendless? My husband and my children are wonderful friends, but I think you all understand the niche filled by female peers. Is it weak of me to desire female friendships when they are doing nothing to further my path toward holiness or that of my family? What does the Bible say about the role of friendships in a Christian life?, the Church Fathers,? Fulton Sheen?, anyone, please?
This dilemma reminds me of one that many Catholic parents must face when deciding on a school for their children – Catholic for a solid foundation or public in order to be salt of the earth/ a lantern on a hill to the rest? Although I have currently made it my practice to sever ties with all of these women who despise my values and devalue my vocation, maybe we are really called to live our lives for them to see – as a challenge to their materialistic, morally relativistic existences? But then what about my duty for fraternal correction? Wouldn’t it get a bit exhaustive to my ‘friends’ if I was constantly correcting them?
A lot to cover, thanks for your time and consideration on this one, Friends.