Here is something I wrote to my close friend, Susanne Osborne. We're 4.5 years into an intentional friendship. Susanne holds a special, special place in my heart. I love the healthy intimacy between us. It has grown immensely.
I have also come to see Susanne as an incredible leader on the front of the cross-gender friendship movement. Most of my readers would not know that. But behind the scenes, she's been amazing. Susanne was at the last Sacred Friendship Gathering. Jim Henderson interviewed her with me along with Jennifer Ould.
We need more men and women who can enter into the fullness of non-romantic intimacy like Sus and I have. There can be so much deep and vibrant beauty in non-romantic intimacy. Sus has been single for most of our relationship but she's now engaged to Jeff Calhoun. I love, love, love, the wholeheartedness Susanne has nurtured with my wholeheartedness in friendship. She's never made me feel like my friendship with her is something like a step to something greater that she's waiting for (romance/marriage). She has always received me and cherished me as a friend and as our intimacy grew she has verbalized how much she cherishes our friendship.
Sus, the more deeper I've come to know you, the more I see this amazing integration of strength and tenderness in you. To experience such an embodied blend of your deep strength and tenderness in our friendship is to taste the profound beauty and goodness of God. From early on in our growing intentional friendship, I've seen these qualities in you come forth in the midst of mutual transparency, vulnerability, and growing trust.
You can attest to the fact that I've already told you in recent days I've been in AWE of your amazing strength and tenderness in leadership behind the scenes to the extent I asked myself: "Who is this superwoman I've befriended?"
There have been a number of things that have come into play between us that have forged such a deep sweetness and trust between us in our friendship. But your amazing combination of strength and tenderness in the appropriate levels of relationship are extraordinary. Your strength and tenderness were apparent early in our friendship and I was like, "Wow! She's something special."
But what I continued to discover was that these were not just superficial masks to cover up something else. The more deeper we went into friendship, the more I saw these amazing qualities in you come forth. And now, where we are in this season of chaos for me, your strength and tenderness are off the charts.
There is this wholeheartedness in you to be deeply present with your friends and to live life in the fullest in the front of that particular friend(s).
I've seen it in you so much; it's been one of the most attractive, life-giving qualities that makes me so drawn to you. Even when you are tired and exhausted, this wholeheartedness to be present is always noticeable, real, authentic, and life-giving.
Everything I've come to believe about the goodness, faithfulness, wholeheartedness and wild Beauty in friendship, I've experienced it in you.