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There you are

There you are.  Isn’t that nice?   You walk into a room wondering if you’ll know someone or if you’ll be alone and someone comes over to you – perhaps a familar face or a good friend.  They look happy to see you and welcome you with open arms.   Or perhaps you really don’t know a soul and some friendly face makes sure you feel welcome.   That’s so nice isn’t it?

I’m very surprised how many conversations I’ve had this week with people who are either feeling lonely right now or have felt lonely in the not-so-distant past.   It seems our world is full of people who struggle with loneliness.  I have been friendly and bubbly all my life.   I’ve always been surrounded by a crowd of acquaintances who I’d genuinely make feel like my closest friends.   This is one of the traits about myself I’ve rather enjoyed….. until recently.

I’m not sure if I’m just really late in my development, or if its the phase of life I’m in, or the location I live in…. or if its a life lesson God wants me to know….. but for the first time in my life I’ve been tempted to not be inclusive.  I’ve been tempted to become an island that is closed and impersonal.

I believe this temptation is probably stemmed from a broken family situation I’m presently facing (which I may blog about when God has helped me process this a bit more).   It could also be just living in a new city after having deep friendships rooted in Vancouver.  I’ve lived in Calgary now for four years and am feeling like I’m just starting to make good friendships.  That’s a long time for a friendly gal like me to wait for good friends.  And it’s not that I haven’t been surrounded by WONDERFUL, and I mean WONDERFUL people!   Like I said, I have a ton of acquaintances – always have.   I love people so I guess people catch that vibe and love being around me as a result.   But what I can’t believe is how many people feel this way on a regular basis!

One thing I know now, after experiencing some years of loneliness myself, is that its not fun being lonely.  It’s not as easy as when we were kids and we’d just say to another kid “Hey, wanna be my friend?” and they’d say “Sure!” – its not that simple anymore.   Life has a way of making us put up walls of pretention that are meant to protect us.  As we grow older and we experience hurt we learn mechanisms of protection.   I’ve never known those mechanisms to be honest.  I’ve always had no problem being real and vulnerable with whoever – I have nothing to hide.  But until this year, I never realized that people can hurt you when they see your vulnerability.  Ouch.  It hurts…. it cuts…. and I’ve found myself feeling like I’m back in those awkward Junior High days wondering where I “fit”.   However, I just said to my hubby the other day that even though it hurts so deep, I CANNOT and will not become an island.  I can’t just put on an air about myself that makes people believe that I’m perfect.   Even through the risk of being rejected or hurt – I have to live a life of honesty before others.  You know why?  Because to most, it encourages them.  Only to the shallow does it threaten.

One friend said to me today that to live with a mask on raises the bar, making others feel unworthy.   That sure doesn’t sound like Jesus to me – yet I see it everywhere.   The reason? Everyone’s so stinkin’ afraid!  Afraid of what others will think….  Afraid of being hurt…..  Afraid of revealing themselves to be rejected….

So what do we do?  Even as older adults?!  We stick with those who we feel safe with.   Could be friends, could be family…. whoever does that for us.   But the problem with this, is that we don’t ever get over this fear we then, not intentionally, exclude others.   I just did this recently!  I was at a wedding and got seated with some great friends who I’m getting to know better and was thrilled to see we were at the same table!  But there was a couple who I didn’t know who also sat with us who had just lost their son a few months ago.  Instead of really making an effort to get to know them and make them feel included in our table, I chatted with my friend next to me who I felt comfortable with.   God hit me over the head with a brick after (ok, not a real brick) and showed me what I had done.  wow…. “what a loser I am” I thought to myself!  Especially because I know what it’s like to be them.

“There you are” is a great attitude to carry.  Even when no one else says “there you are”.  Even when those who you say “there you are” to hurt or reject you.  Jesus carried this attitude with Him.  His love and honesty attracted multitudes.  Yet how many were still there when He was hanging on the cross?  – not many…. not even all of His disciples.  Yet He still chose to love and say “there you are”….   He still does.

Will I follow suit?….  will you?

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Categories: randoms
  1. laura meilleur
    December 28, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Awesome Connie! Thanks for your transparency. You are an inspiration to me. I love you girlfriend.

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