Book Review: Pamela Havey Lau, A Friend in Me: How to Be a Safe Haven for Other Women, Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2015, 208 pages.
I just had a meeting with Pamela Havey Lau. Actually, I didn’t, but it sure felt like it after reading her latest book A Friend in Me: How to Be a Safe Haven for Other Women. What Pamela offers in this book is wisdom for anyone in a digital age characterized by smartphones, social media and the Internet. Technologically, we have many ways to connect, yet we are disconnected more than ever, according to the latest results of various studies. But I am sure we all have our own experiential evidence we can bring to the table without having to delve into the scientific data that are now piling up. In a semi-formal, down-to-earth tone, Pamela shares many of her personal experiences, and the wisdom extracted from them, to show how we can truly connect and be better friends as mentors, leaders or just better people.
A Friend in Me definitely has universal appeal because of the themes that are addressed: suffering, forgiveness, compassion and love. Out of these virtues, rising like a phoenix from the ashes, are five patterns that Pamela identifies as being necessary for an individual to become a safe haven. These five patterns are learning to deal with suffering; giving healing-comfort; acting with understanding; knowing full forgiveness; and relating with compassion. “I’m so thankful I said yes to this journey, as the patterns have not only transformed my relationships but also healed my heart in the process,” she says. If we are in any kind of relationship then certainly this book is useful, especially in showing us what it looks like to be a true friend, how a true friend should act, how to become a true friend, and even how to find one. Pamela points out that “when our lives are busy and fragmented, we can’t shelter others with our presence. We keep people standing on the perimeter of our lives…” Having authentic relationships in our lives will require us to slow down and pay attention to the person in front of us.
My only fault with this book is its subtitle, “How to be a Safe Haven for Other Women.” Nonetheless, I “totally get” why Pamela writes the book for a female audience. Quite simply, women need other women in their lives, just like men need other men in their lives. Period. However, as a woman I know that many women find it difficult to trust each other. Perhaps, it’s “the mean girls” syndrome, which has been around for a long time and is perpetrated in the media.
Who would have thought that we would need a book on how to develop authentic relationships? Who would have thought it would be important for our time? I certainly did not. And if you don’t think this is a needed topic, the next generation for sure will or will need it. The body of Christ is designed to function like the human body within a community. Unfortunately, the body of Christ operates more as a body within an autoimmunity (a diseased state in which the body attacks itself). A Friend in Me: How to be a Safe Haven for Other Women has taught me how to be a better friend and how to be that bridge for the next generation. There are many of us who are carrying rich deposits that are needed by the next generation. That generation will need us to help them connect and develop healthy relationships that are not dependent on social media or a device.