Shopping Therapy and a "True Blue" Friendship

I believe that friends are one of God’s special gifts to us. Each friendship is unique and serves different purposes. Friendship categories range from the “casual” variety to the “true blue”. I don’t really know where that term came from, or what it really means, but my definition is that it is a friend that sticks with you – no matter what! It doesn’t mean you spend all your free time together – just that when you DO spend time together, its’ like you’ve never been apart. You just pick up where you left off…




God sent a friend like that to me many years ago. The “birth” of this friendship came about in an unusual way…




I have battled with a fatigue issue most of my life. I’ve come to accept it as part of who I am, and adjust life accordingly. When my kids were babies/toddlers this issue intensified (obviously!). I seriously wondered at times if a person could die from sheer exhaustion. Some of those years are very “foggy” memories for me…as I tried to cope through the haze of bleary-eyes.




One year was especially difficult for me. Looking back, it was probably some sort of post-partum depression, but I didn’t know enough to recognize it at the time. The winter here on the West Coast was consistantly gray and drizzly. I hadn’t slept through the night for years – literally. I started to cry…and cry…and couldn’t seem to stop. I kept talking about wanting to go to Montana. My poor, poor husband. Finally, we sat down to have a heart to heart – him and me. This problem was getting unbearable.




I’ll never forget what he said to me that day. “Well, I think we better try to get you to Montana somehow. Do you just miss your family so much?”



Through gulps and sobs I replied, “I just want to go shopping”.



SCREECH! Back up the train…



“Shopping?” he asked. “This is about SHOPPING?…I think you need to explain.” (Have I ever mentioned that my husband is a very patient man?)



You see, shopping was a BIG DEAL in my family. It was an event. Growing up in small town Montana, we drove 1 1/2 hours to the closest shopping center. We had a system all worked out. My sisters and mom and I would leave early so we could get to the mall when it opened. Our careful process of browsing, lunching, and purchasing would then get us home…very late!




After we got married, I quickly realized my husband didn’t share in my shopping trip preferences. He didn’t really understand the “just browse” part. He’s more of the “Is 15 minutes enough? I’ll wait here in the car” kind of shopper…




So, I reserved my shopping trip desires for only when we went to Montana – once a year, at the most! Thus…my desire to go to Montana!




What followed was our own little psychology session. We realized after much discussion that what I was really longing for was some time away (guilt free!) with a girl-friend. And my husband was quite certain we could figure out a way to accomplish that a little closer to home than Montana!



However, along with this realization came the reality that I didn’t know who I could ask to go with me… Who in the world would want to go shopping with a weeping woman??




My husband encouraged me to call one person in particular. “I really think she’ll understand. Just tell her.”




So, while feeling so incredibly emotional and vulnerable, I called up this lady. I knew her. I liked her. But I didn’t really know her like a sister.




I explained the situation. And probably cried. (Oh, brother, is that all I do?) And bless her heart. She dropped everything and went shopping with me.




We browsed and browsed the mall. We went to a TERRIBLE movie and laughed through the whole thing. We stayed overnight in a motel. We shopped some more. I don’t remember buying much (that’s really not the point!), but my joy was restored. And a “true blue” friendship was born.




That was many years ago. Since then, we’ve share many things over many cups of coffee. I know when I really need a friend…right now…she’s there for me. Like today. When I got some news I find really sad. She made me coffee. She didn’t make me feel silly when I got teary. She listened. She offered me wise advice. She made me laugh. And I know she won’t tell the whole nation our conversation. That’s true blue. I thank God for her. And I love her.




P.S. For those curious ones of you…the sad news I refer to? My mom is in the hospital in Montana. I miss her…and wish I could hug her neck.

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One Comment

  1. I can really relate to this. The exhausted all the time, esp when the kids were little. THe miss shopping with mom thing. (I don’t have any sisters, but I love shopping w/ mom, but she’s in KS and I’m in England…) Praise God for the friend. So well written. Hugs to you.

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