Timing for a girls' weekend couldn't have been more perfect (at what age do I have to call us "ladies"? Never, please?).  I was home from Germany for only four weeks and the getaway just happened to coincide.

This group picks up right where we left off; commas end our good-byes.  Soon enough, conversation gurgles and swirls, an easy-flowing meander in the way men will never understand but women intrinsically know.  Talk was common, the parts of our lives we miss during the in-between, the long gaps of not being with one another, the game of catch-up.

They wanted to know about Germany, and because (understandably) I've been asked so many times, I felt like the little old lady who tells you EXACTLY how she is when you ask, reciting acres of infirmity.  Except these days, due to my husband's job, my list sounds like an ad for Travelocity.

How do you explain your impressions after drinking from a gushing fire hydrant for seven months?  

I give a condensed, practiced response, the one I share until and unless someone really wants to know more.
One of my girlfriends wants to know more, but it's not about Germany, per se; she wants to know about me.  And, yes, her lips are doing the asking but, my God, her eyes are penetrating mine and she takes hold of my heart, and with both hands squeezing, wrings hard.

"How are you doing with all the changes you've gone through the past year?  How's your heart doing?"

I hadn't seen it coming.  Buoyed by laughter and connection and stories, sitting on that bedroom floor with the wall holding me up, I didn't realize my guard was completely down.

I shook my head slowly no, unable to speak, tears burning my throat and stinging my eyes, my own body betraying me…revealing secret hurts.

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Please click over to (in)courage to continue reading "The difference between asking how I can pray for you and praying for you."  It's a story about friendship, holy promptings and how the actions of one can influence another. 

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