When I was younger I didn’t find it too hard to make friends. I had a group of close friends who ate lunch together and hung out on Friday nights. And then I had my one or two very best friends.
But there are a lot changes when you get married. And even more changes when you have babies. Now, even if I have a free afternoon to go do something with someone, there’s no guarantee that her schedule is equally free.
And frankly, there just isn’t always a lot of spare time to invest in relationships — what with the laundry, the dishes, the chauffeuring and all. And did I mention the laundry?
Which is why I think I’ve often felt lonely and isolated. But Heavenly Father doesn’t intend for us to feel that way. And knowing that God helps those who help themselves, this is how I tackled that very problem several years ago.
We had just moved into a new neighborhood. We had lived in our previous place for a year and I never really made any friends. My husband told me I needed to do something about that and since I also wanted to find a friend, I readily agreed with him. I decided that each Friday I would just call up a sister in our new ward and invite her over for lunch so I could get to know her.
The first Friday lunch was alright. It was a sister who had two small children and the conversation was a little strained and our parenting styles didn’t quite match up. I could tell she was worried about her boys while she was at my house. Still, it was nice to get to know someone. But I wondered whether my Friday lunches were really such a good idea.
As it turns out, our first day in our new ward a man introduced himself to my husband and said, “I think we know you.” This was a man whom I had known way back when –before his mission when we were just 18 year old freshmen at college. My husband didn’t know him well, if at all.
I did have some vague memories of him and certainly remembered his name. Neither one of us knew his wife who was several years younger than us. It was actually really comforting to think that we had moved so close to people from our hometown.
When we got home, my husband mentioned to me that this husband had taken him aside and talked about how lonely his wife was and what a hard time she was having with their new baby who was less than a month old. I thought about how lonely I was and decided I’d call her up and see if she could come over for lunch the next Friday.
It was one of the most fun and wonderful days I’ve had as a stay-at-home mom just staying home. She came for lunch and we ate together. And then we talked.
The conversation moved from the kitchen to the living room and then outside in my backyard. We talked about our hometown and mutual acquaintances and marriage and babies and the gospel.
I don’t even know what all we talked about, but I do remembering loving every minute of the conversation. We never seemed to be at a loss for a topic to discuss. She has since told me that she was so worried about staying for so long, but was enjoying herself so much, and didn’t feel lonely for the first time in a long time.
That lunch lasted for several hours. The friendship has lasted for seven years. Jessica is one of my best friends and we can still talk for hours. Recently I was hospitalized and when I got out of the hospital she dropped by to give me a little plaque she made that says,
“A friend is one of the nicest things to have, and one of the best things you can be.”
I put it on my refrigerator. My husband came home that evening and saw it and said that was one of the sweetest things. He asked me if Jessica knew how much her friendship meant to us and how much we valued it. He wanted to make sure I was initiating enough phone calls to her (I was, believe me!).
That one act of reaching out a little past my comfort zone has brought me years and years of wonderful companionship, no matter where we’ve lived and I’m so grateful for that blessing in my life.