Emerson ran excitedly to the sandbox at the softball fields. There were a couple of older girls playing there, likely six or seven years old. After introducing herself to them, and asking them to play with her, she looked over at me, giving a confident "thumbs-up". My heart practically burst with pride.
I watched them play. The group grew throughout the evening as they built castles, chased one another, made "sand angels", and dug in the sand. Emerson was happy and carefree and everything a three year old should be.
We talked about her time later that evening. Over and over again, she talked about "my friends".
She could not, I'm quite sure, have told me their names. She knew they were older. She could recount the games they played. It never seemed to dawn on her that she may never see them again, and their relationship would likely never amount to more than the play they shared on that summer evening in June. Nevertheless, they were her "friends".
I admire her for that. Without knowing anything else about those children, the fact that they played together made them her friends. Why shouldn't they be?
I find myself, for whatever reason, more inclined to see other people...other women...as competition (in what?), as a threat (to what?), or as a challenge (for what?) than I am apt to see them as potential friends.
When did that happen? How did that happen? And how in the world do I change that? Because I don't think it's healthy. It's certainly not Christ-like, and it isn't the example I want to set for my girls.
Then again, on that night, Emerson was the example. She showed love, she demonstrated kindness, and she reminded me that the world is full of "my friends"...most of whom I just haven't met yet.