As my husband and I continue with our adventures in the Tucson area, we were invited to dinner with some friends at their house on a Wednesday, which is Betsy's day to meet with her friends at 4:30. My sister-in-law and I were invited to this neighborhood group called the Whiners, or maybe it is the Winers. The 5 to 6 women gather weekly at one of their homes to have a glass of wine and some goodies and to share their lives. One has her invalid dad at home. One is having personal health issues. One has a tough teaching job. Betsy started the group several years ago when she realized that some of her neighbors were struggling with life issues. If they could share the challenges, would it help each of them move through the situations with more understanding and not feel alone? It seems like it has worked as they are still meeting and it is a priority for all of them.
At the time we were there, they were discussing the results of the meeting with their neighborhood development regarding covenants. This wasn't the usual sharing from the hears, but it seemed reasonable to me that they might not be ready to move into expressing their deepest selves with 2 guests. Betsy says their meetings have served as an important outlet for feelings that might not otherwise have a place for expression. Betsy doesn't tell her husband what happens when they meet. The confidentiality and trust that they have established allows them to vent their frustrations and fears, as well as triumphs. They are not interested in fixing problems or judging each other, rather in witnessing and being there for each other.
I love this story of a woman who has seen a need among her friends (and for herself) and set up a space for them to connect at a heart level. This may not seem like a big deal, yet it is huge for those who are participating and helps them get through some the rough spots.