I was 13 1/2 when my only sister was born, and no one was happier than me! With 2 brothers between us, I was quite eager to balance the odds. Thrilled as I was, though, when my sister was 4, I left home to go to college, and we really haven't lived in close proximity in the last 25 years. We are still close, enjoy each other's company, served in each other's weddings, and are Godmother for each other's children. But my circle of sisters has expanded.
My husband's sister says I am the sister she never had. And although we are as different as night and day, there is a closeness there, too. We have swapped Godparent duties and she introduced me to the Adoration chapel where I like to drop in sometimes. Last year we tagged along with each other to parish missions during Lent.
There are a few mom friends of my boys that I am close to; a few that we can talk about matters of faith. Some of them, by their example and witness, have encouraged me along the road. And maybe, by the same token, others will come to a closer relationship with Jesus by something I have said or done.
There are internet friends that have helped me along the way on my journey - other Catholic moms. People I may never meet this side of heaven, but whom I can bounce ideas off of and get feedback and ideas from . Some of them have become good friends with whom I can discuss matters of the soul.
There is my best, best friend from high school, who is a "real" Sister (a Poor Clare) Since she is cloistered and lives 1400 miles away, our relationship at this point of our lives is mostly by email. A visit is a rare treat; I think we have seen each other 5 times in the past 10 years. But, this is probably the one person with whom I can share anything. Who will "get" what I'm saying and still love me anyway. When I want an honest opinion, I can get it - sometimes unasked for. A shoulder to cry on. Advice. Prayers. Or just someone to listen to my rambling. All of the above! (or 'answers may vary') ;-)
And then there are my "church lady" friends, as hubby calls them. One that I have known for a few years (hi Cat!) and another that I just met this past summer. This week, I was lucky enough to meet both of them for coffee. Both are a few years further along in the motherhood business than I am, and their perspective is valuable. And both of them "get it". Someone to share a love of the Mass, the sacraments and our faith with - in real life. Someone who understands. When I got home after one of my coffee "dates", dear hubby asked me what I talk about with them that I can't talk about with him and the kiddos. "Oh, faith, grace, stuff like that." How do you explain that? Female spiritual conversation.
And so even though it's after Thanksgiving, I am grateful for these sisters in Christ. Sisters who don't think you're crazy when you actually enjoy Mass or go to confession more than once a decade. Sisters who are sitting next to you at daily Mass. Sisters who listen. Sisters who pray. Thank you, God for these sisters. My family has expanded, and I am blessed to have their support on the journey!