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The Painful Edgy Stuff

Dear Struggling Girlfriend,

I miss you so much. I know you can’t tell, because I’ve pretty much fallen off the face of the planet with the usual job, kids, house, whoops I forgot to get gas, and I haven’t called my own mother back in two weeks thing.

I know we’re all busy.

But it doesn’t mean your name doesn’t pop into my head at odd moments, like when I’m sitting at a red light or just falling asleep or stirring the spaghetti noodles.

I feel like all I’ve got are these little bright hopes for you and I can’t even reach for the phone to tell you so.

Every time I think of you I send you a butterfly.

I conjure up a frenzied little orange flapping butterfly and send it towards you. I have no idea where you’re actually standing right now. But the little bright spot will find you.

That’s her job.

Let me sit down and explain.

It’s a prayer, my lovely friend, that your struggles will lift just enough. Just enough for you to feel the breeze from her wings, the spark from her aerial dance. Just enough that you can get through this day and find a soft place to lay your weary head. You don’t need to sleep. Just lie down and let your body breathe.

It will be okay.

And lest you feel I’m being a bit cocky with my faith in you, let me remind you of the obvious: I know you. I know you enough. Enough to see the steel below your worn, paper-thin layers. And you will make it out the other side of this struggle and you will send me butterflies in your turn.

At the moment, one precious friend is struggling because her hubby was laid off and hasn’t found a job yet. They will have to move. She went back to work and enrolled their son in a school that she hopes is near a place that they will all be able to call home soon. Her faith is being stretched. And it’s scary.

One has recently moved to another city in another state because her hubby got the job of his dreams. But everything is new. New hairdresser, new dentist, new grocery store, new house full of strange new noises. New weather. And she’s trying to find new friends. Not that her old friends don’t count, but it’s hard drinking tea alone. It’s so lonely sometimes.

One sits for months, wondering if the courts will take away her home because there are unscrupulous people in this world and sometimes the bad guys win. Only she has no way of knowing until the courts know. Life gallops by, but the home-front feels stuck in limbo.

One girlfriend walked away from a car crash two weeks ago. It was not a pretty crash. She is battered and bruised and still in shock that no one stopped along the road to help. Faith and gratitude is tempered by the vague betrayal of humanity and lingering headaches.

Many battle things like cancer or alcoholism or depression or anxiety or insomnia or infertility or long-term pain or even suicidal thoughts. These precious friends face a thing that is walking around inside of them instead of outside of them. It’s hard for them to separate the enemy from the beautiful healthy girl in there.

But I see her.

And I watch you soldier on. And I watch you lift up others from your spot on the ground. And I watch you rise up and try again and yet again.

You are my absolute hero.

I respect the fact that you were able to get out of bed and put on pants.

Even on the days you didn’t. I know you’ll try again tomorrow.

And for you, my sweet friend whose hubby just received a diagnosis of the heart-breaking sort, I wish you comfort and all the fierce love one day at a time can hold. You aren’t ready to talk about it yet. You are trying to wrap your mind around the impossible.

But already you have reminded me to have compassion for everyone I meet.

Everyone is carrying something. Everyone comes from somewhere.

And butterflies are free.

Published inLiving Larger


  1. Rebekah Hunter

    Oh this is so right on…seriously Jolie, that first paragraph was echoed here. Those words literally floated out as I ran about from school to school today…thinking wow, I feel like I have fallen off the face of the earth….I am totally neglecting my friends and extended family right now with everything moving and shaking in my own little sphere of life. A friend met me with a sad situation and a heavy heart today and as we chatted, hugged and shared tears, I thought to myself what a beautiful thing is it to have friends who look out for us. who share fears and triumphs and who are just there – there to cry with at times, to be lifted by and to sometimes help pick up. On the way home I was thinking of all those friends who I miss so much…and wish I could see all the time. I sent them prayers of strength and courage to do battle with whatever it was they faced. And told myself that my hard times are not mine alone. I not only have a God who cares for me but he also sends me strength through supportive friends. They encourage and carry me with their kindness. Thank you for being one of those. Love you….think I should go relax with a glass of wine and watch the IMAX movie”The Flight of the Butterflies…..xoxo

  2. Alyssa Schlottman

    My attention was drawn to this huge butterfly that floated by me several times last week.It struck me as unusual.Thanks for sending it my way!!

  3. Lis

    Thank you…we love all your family.
    Thank you for all you have provided.
    Kia kaha te Atua
    Aroha nui
    Ben and Lis x

  4. Anonymous

    Thank you for your words of wisdom, for the reminders that life is harder for some. Each butterfly I see will remind me to pray for those who are struggling. 🙂

  5. Pattie Wolfe

    Wow! That was very well spoken. I love this! So many times when it is hard to stop long enough to put that card in the mail I have hopes my struggling friends know that I am thinking of them! Thanks!

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