Many years ago, there was a movie that came out celebrating the uniqueness of close female friendships. For those of you who are Baby Boomers, you will recall the film “Beaches,” starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey. It was an accurate portrayal of these relationships, often experienced as sisters-in-another life. More recently, Netflix adapted Kristen Hannah’s book, Firefly Lane. Although I read Ms. Hannah’s superb novel, The Nightingale, about French citizens enduring the terrorism of Nazi Germany, I did not have the opportunity to read this particular piece of fiction. Initially, I was ambivalent about watching the movie. Foolishly, I thought it was going to be a sappy series. I do not know the reason. Perhaps, the spot displayed by Netflix did not grab my attention. Well, how utterly wrong I was.
ENJOY PART 1 BELOW⤵︎
More on the Nature of Female Friendships
Ms. Hannah managed to capture female friends’ closeness in ways that I have not seen in a very long time. Maybe, I missed other shows that did, but hers is a beautiful rendition of sororal connections. Without giving anything away, she reveals how they can be fraught with significant conflict, at times jealousy. Unless the association has a solid foundation, death can come upon it, just like that. Alternately, it can wither, slowly surviving on life support with the unavoidable pulling of the plug.
For many women, ending these relationships are like getting divorced. Although I did not read it, there was a book about female friendships that discussed how some of these terminations are worse than the end of a marriage. You might wonder, “What does that say about the marriage?” Well, what many people seem to forget is that people get married and remain married for different reasons. Also, a strong marriage is often separate from these connections. The love between spouses may be enduring, but the need for more is often the case for many women.
Professionally and Personally
I have seen several women who experience despair over the loss of their friendships. Sometimes, their friends have found a new love in the later years of their life, and as I referred to in Part 1, they cannot chew gum and walk at the same time. There are other times this schism is inexplicable to one side of the friend. A good friend of mine lost a couple of friends. One seemed abrupt. The other took longer for “The End” to come. On later reflection, my friend indicated that the sudden was not so sudden. Nevertheless, my friend grieved for a very long time.
A few years ago, a long-term connection of mine came to an end. Because we viewed the world through different lenses, I could feel it slowly unraveling. I chose to ignore it until the execution. I never thought this friendship would end, and I disregarded some of the cracks in the foundation. A couple of years earlier, this friend made it clear she would not travel with a disabled relative of mine. I chose to put this stinging declaration aside, delaying the inevitable.
Weathering Differences in Opinions
We are living in challenging times where politics have become the new religion. Increasingly, birds of a feather are flocking more together, banishing those with a varied plumage.
Discussion is unacceptable, and no one is willing to ask, “Tell me why you think that way.”
I have clients and friends with divergent views about many issues. As a firm believer in God and the life beyond, some of my friends adamantly disagree with this perspective. To them, death is the total end—dust to dust, including the soul or conscience with that. Recently, a friend revealed that she does not believe in God shared within the context of another discussion. I told her I do believe in God. We both accepted each other’s position and moved on. Do not get me wrong. I am not immune to trying to justify my position, but I refrained. What is the point if each of us is wedded to our belief system? To me, the connection between us supersedes all. It is best to stay away from topics that often evolve into a toxic and irreversible consequence. Even the most potent base can be undone during these, what appears to be, unprecedented times.
The phenomenon of heated politics is equally disturbing in the brotherhood. Again, men’s relationships, although they might be significant, are not the same as their sisters in arms. They can often put their differences aside and involve themselves in sports or just not talking. Because of the uniqueness of female friendships, the barbs are frequently more hurtful. If you doubt me, I encourage you to watch Beaches or, if you subscribe to Netflix, Firefly Lane.
Finally, for my friends who do not believe in God or an afterlife, I guess all we can do is wait and see. I hope they are wrong. Not only will it be a relief for all of us, but any dispute on this issue will vanquish. Spirit with ease will reign! How much more glorious can that be!
What are your thoughts on this subject? Have you seen “Beaches” or “Firefly Lane?” Do you believe we can put aside our differences during this partisan era? I invite you to share.