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By Mrs. Debbie Selengut

Hello My Dear Kallas!

To My Dear Kallas, עמו”ש

A Guten Chodesh Sivan!

I’m writing this newsletter early in the morning outside on my porch, sipping a coffee, enjoying the gorgeous weather and feeling very grateful.

Each month, I am confident that I will have an experience that will be my “Aha! That is what I want to share” message.

As soon as it happened, I knew it. And it actually happened twice this month.

I had the opportunity to spend real time with real, childhood friends. Not acquaintances, but real friends, you know what I’m talking about. Friends I could be “real” with.

Fun, it was. But it was much more.

It was relaxing, with no pretenses. I guess the word is just “real”.

The feelings stuck with me for a while and made me think about the power of friends, and how much we need them, and how much they bring to our lives.

Sometimes our days can feel like a hamster wheel, and we can go to sleep with a “down” feeling of, “tomorrow I have to do the same things all over again….”

And guess what?

That’s the reality.

So, what can we do to lighten it, and may I suggest, enjoy it?

I think that much of the answer can be found in the richness that friendships bring us.

Feelings of isolation, or working in a vacuum can be heavy, and rob us of so much joy that is available to us.

When our children were little, the long afternoons, the piles of laundry, the endless trips to the pediatrician, the constantly interrupted nights, were all made easier when we bantered about it on the playground.  It normalized me, I wasn’t alone in this, we all had so much of the same stuff in common.

I don’t want to underestimate that power of connection with friends in our same stage.

But then there is a deeper level of friendship, a level that can anchor us, help us grow, and hold up a mirror to us (not always so pretty) and push us to develop further.

This is more than someone that we can just complain to, someone that can share sorrow, take care of us, not just give us a hug, and be happy for us…

This is a friendship where I can talk about the challenges that I am dealing with, where I can be vulnerable, be real.

And we very often have to create this, and not wait for it to “just happen”.

Maybe it can be over a sefer that we learn together; Living Emuna, or something else.

Because it might be hard to just open up, and learning together gives us that platform, that opportunity. Sometimes, a consistent walking partner creates that relationship, with a goal to grow though friendship

It might take time and effort to create a relationship with friends, people that we can relate to, get closer, and can talk real with.

I have been fortunate to be a part of a small group that started though Peninim, (about 11 or 12 years ago), and we meet every other Sunday morning (almost) and have grown so much together. The honesty, the support, and the serious looks that we have to take at ourselves, has deepened our own lives and our friendships. And honestly, I believe that we have all made better life decisions based on our conversations and support of one another.

We are dealing with many same things, marriage, jobs, finances, family, cooking, yamaim tovim., and bigger issues. Being mothers to children growing up in a different world than we did, technology decisions, lifestyle decisions.

And we share it. In a real way.

What’s hard for me? What’s stressful for me? What do I love about life? Where do I keep getting snagged?

Being able to ask a friend for her insight, and her experience, not just her listening ear (although we definitely need that too!)

(It goes without saying that there is no question that in person interactions are waaaay better than on the phone.)

Just a side note, (which is really a newsletter in its own right) friendships take pressure off of our spouse. There are many areas of my day, many situations, that will be better understood by another woman. This really needs to be developed more, but for now, I’m just throwing it out there.

And for those of you that love data and research:

“A study conducted by a group of psychologists from the University of Chicago found that people who have strong social networks are less likely to die prematurely compared to people who feel isolated and alone. In fact, some research has shown that having resilient social ties to other people can significantly extend one’s life span.

Experts believe that having strong and stable friendships can help us to manage stress, which can have a dramatic impact on our physical health. If you know that you’ll have people by your side in times of worry, it can make a huge difference when trying to manage the situation.”

Try to take the time to cultivate deeper friendships. Yes, it takes time, but the benefits can be life altering.

Wishing you a wonderful month,

Love, Mrs. Selengut


Mrs. Debbie Selengut