I recently got to hang out with one of my very special friends…Since most of the year we live about 500 miles apart and even when we are both living in the same state we both have other responsibilities we don’t get to connect very often, so that makes it even more special when we do get to catch up.
I still remember the day I met her when my life was falling apart. It was August 17th, 2008. The second week away from the church I had been at for years. Although no one (but my family) was going to know it, I did NOT want to be there and nothing was going to make me like it even a little bit, because nothing could possibly compare to what I felt that I had lost. I wanted back what I had and any bit of acknowledging the good would feel like losing the old church that I missed…but connected at the hip to one of my brothers (not literally), I waited for Sunday school to start. Walking in the room, I met my friend as she realized I was new and found someone for me to follow. Then she talked at the front of the room about how excited she was about her necklace. I don’t know what it was besides that it was clearly a God thing, but that afternoon (when I wasn’t screaming about all the things I hated about the new church…everything from the petty like the lack of free lemonade after church to the moderately valid like the lack of connection and routine), I friended her on facebook. That may not seem like a huge thing, but when you consider that I intentionally had very few friends on facebook and was extremely cautious about who I would friend, that was a huge thing, and somewhat out of character of me. I yearned for the passion and compassion she brought to the table even though I didn’t know it at the time, and I suppose God knew how desperately I needed a friend.
Fast forward to March, and I start to open up the broken places in my heart to her, and we begin to connect a lot more closely. We had some ups and downs in our relationship, and…umm…looking back at the way in which I communicated it was more like I didn’t ever speak with my mouth but greatly overshared via facebook, but somehow she stuck with me and we still love hanging out (or at least I do, and I assume that she does too 🙂 ).
She has been an amazing friend for me, and it means so much to me to get to spend time with her…It is not just about talking about myself, although being known and cared about does feel good…It is not just about hearing about how she is doing and what is going on in her life, although I do care and want to hear that as well. It is about being able to spend quality time with a God-given friend. I truly would feel really good to even just be able to sit silently in the presence of my friends. Quality time is one of my love languages, and I think it is because spending time with me shows that you think I am worth enough to sacrifice your time for me, and many times people have told me that people I call my friends aren’t really my friends, so it proves that they really are my friends…Of course, I also understand that not having time for me does not mean you are not my friend and does not mean that you do not value me—I understand that I am not the center of the universe and people have a LOT of other responsibilities aside from being friends with me…ultimately I am only a small piece of someone else’s world, and that means they do not always have time for me, nor do I always have time to give either.
It is so refreshing to talk to this friend. She doesn’t make me feel like I am just sympathy-accepted but that I actually am valuable. I always walk away feeling like I matter and am not just demanding time, and this time was no different. Like she usually does she insisted on paying (someday I will assert myself enough to get to pay for her), but she doesn’t do it in such a way that I feel like her little charity case…I do not want to be anyone’s charity case. I much prefer helping other people to needing other people to help me…which is probably why I LOVE the place I volunteer at so much since it ends up going both directions…
We talk about as much as we can get in to our time together since we don’t have the luxury of unlimited social time, and it is awesome to hang out with someone who is willing to tell me the hard truth—that I really do have to say no sometimes because I can’t do everything and do it well and God will take over and have a plan for the things that I can’t keep on my plate—but also is so encouraging.
One thing she told me that really struck me was that I should be proud of myself. That seemed like such a foreign concept because from my perspective this semester I was just going through life trying to survive and not doing that great of a job at it anyway as I spent hours crying and upset when I should have been studying and was sometimes not a nice person on the inside when I was angry at things occurring on the outside that were hurting me and upsetting me, and really I felt like I had pretty much just barely not failed at life, much less had anything to be proud of…but that’s what friends are for; to see the parts of the puzzle that I am missing to allow me to see how incredible what I have done really is. What I saw as just going through life was really jumping through hoops and doing things that most “real adults” would struggle to be able to do, and while it feels like I *have* to, in reality I could stop whenever I wanted to and go a new direction in life.
I feel so blessed to have amazing friends in my life who take the time to listen to and encourage me. It is in moments like this that I can see clearly that there is a reason for the chaos that erupted in my life in high school…without that the chances are very low that I would have connected deeply with this friend…I may have seen her or even interacted with her once or twice at broomball games…if I’d ever broken out of my bubble to actually go there when I could have been studying…but I really doubt I’d ever have actually had meaningful conversation with her if it hadn’t been for the change of churches and then the series of events that led to opening up my heart to her…but now I can’t imagine my life without her…
…although let’s not think about how I kind of trace back the issues at school to the change of churches since I can see one way to cut off the pathway that led me there if it hadn’t happened, but that theory isn’t as strong since I can also see a possibility though admittedly a bit of a fuzzy one that could have led to at least somewhere near the same place from a different direction…and it does me no good to be a day after back seat driver…because regardless of why or how it happened, the past is the past and I cannot change the past. Everything in the past is things we can’t take back…
Happy New Year!