I’ve had several interesting conversations this past week, with friends. I’m all over the place, at this phase, in my life. I’ve cried across restaurant tables, fallen apart on friend’s couches, cried over coffee, cried all over voxer and facetime. While, in those instances I’m a blubbering mess, thankfully I’m not only that. I am not afraid to engage in the best parts of this new, uncomfortable life, and even when it hurts, it can be a beautiful journey.
At breakfast friday, a friend and I discussed how we are wired for connection. This is so true. While I believe everyone is designed for community, so many people have numbed or silenced those needs. She and I were in agreement that we just cannot. If I do not maintain an intentional connection with my friends, the friendship will wither. If I do not intentionally connect with others regularly, I will wither. These are just the facts and I have to accept them. While I was familiar with the feelings, and the longings I do not think I really embraced that this is not selfish, but a need in my design, until this very season in my life. There are times, in my life, when I am wandering lost in the desert and a good friend is the manna. The real key to this is keeping friends who understand this in me, without me having to ask them to, that actually want to be in intentional in our friendship… They are few and far between, people, this is a sad fact.
I recently lost a friend. We had met under awkward and strange circumstances and been there for each other over several years of highs and lows. There was a time when I simply could not imagine my life without her. She was my absolute best and dearest friend, in possibly the closest way I had ever known. Years into our friendship though, she became less and less present. This hurt me deeply, but I still continued to extend my hand to her. Sometimes she accepted, for a short time, before going back into her own world and closing the door on me. This was a cycle that continued for years, I’m sad to say. With any other friend I would have bid them goodbye and moved on, but for her I stuck it out because of how deeply I believed we were tied. In hindsight I see that I was obviously far more invested than she was, when it was no longer convenient for her. This was the newer pattern, and obviously the more permanent one. When I was in the darkest part of my life, this past fall, I leaned on her (along with a couple of other dear friends) because I still had an unrealistic perspective on our relationship. You live and you learn, I guess. During a period of time, back in the beginning of our friendship there was a person she was senselessly devoted to and I coined the phrase Undeserved Devotion. I did the same thing with her… Then again, it’s a pattern for me, I’m seeing. I keep finding myself devoted to people who aren’t so invested. It’s a goal to correct this, in time.
I feel so deeply tied to the people I share connections with, that I look past the changes and when the intentional moments all become driven by me, I simply allow my inner demons to come and torment me about how unloveable and disposable I am. I don’t know the answer to these things, people are people. It’s as simple as that. I’ve had busy life moments which led me to falling away from intentionally connecting with people. What I see happen though is that I wither and then I am forced to put my priorities in check and admit my problem, so I make it up to them. When the above is true, and those other people just don’t ever step back up to the plate, it means they are out of the game and that’s ok… There is a difference between the busy seasons and the flat-out uninterested. We have to love and respect ourselves enough to tell the difference.
Their lack of interest is more of a reflection on them, than you or I. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with us. This is a huge lesson I’m learning, and I’m talking about it because I have a couple of friends who are also struggling with the same thing. It’s healthy to realize your need for relationship and connections. It is also healthy to communicate this, offer and receive it. The healthiest thing you can do for yourself is recognize who is truly in your tribe and let go of the ones you’re giving to, with no return.