Tuesday, March 17, 2015

On Friendship

Bethany, I have told you before that our parents gave me a gift when you were born.  But, I don't know if I ever explained it this way...

When they had you, our parents gave us each a lifelong deep-heart friend.  I am forever grateful.  I know it could have gone many different ways.  With us being 8 years apart, we may have never become friends at all.  But, we did.  And, we are.  Forever, deep-heart friends. 

Looking back, I wish we were closer in age because then I might have figured out friends/friendship better/sooner.  I am still figuring it out.  Still figuring out how to be a friend.  How to make friends. 

As a young child (ages 7-11, lets say), I was more aware of other kids and people and how they interacted.  I was growing more aware that I was sheltered from most of them because of our parents' religious beliefs.  So, I observed.  I watched people.  I read about people.  I did not interact much with other kids.  So, essentially, all I knew of friendship was superficial.

So, when our world fell apart and dad's business went bankrupt and our parents were excommunicated from our church and mom went to school and our parents divorced, I was suddenly thrust into a much less sheltered world.  I wanted to use what I knew about others to make friends.  I needed to.  We need each other.  We need people.  I do, anyway.  But, I went about it all wrong.

I have always been a friendly person.  But, I have never been good at making friends.  I did not like cliques in school.  So, I tried really hard (too hard?) not to be part of them (not that anyone was asking me to).  But, I was acquaintances with kids from every clique.  I was liked, but I only really had two friends, only one with whom I am still friends.  I was good at looking the part.  I wore the "right clothes".  I was in the top 10% of our class (barely!). 

I was good at the superficial-"howareyouI'mfine" brand of friendliness.  But, I was scared stiff that someone would find out I was all messed up on the inside and at home, so I never let anyone get too close.  My dad drove a junk car (it should not have mattered; but, it did).  We had to move to a two-bedroom apartment in the "bad part" of our suburban town (again, should not have mattered).  We lived in relative "squalor" (I'm serious...cockroaches, plastic bags full of cans to recycle, dirty dishes, moldy bathroom) compared to the people I had observed and my two friends.  So, I tried to hide these things.  What better way to do that than to pretend?  I had a job.  I could buy the "right clothes".  I could keep everyone at a distance.  Gah!  This started a dangerous pattern that lasted through college, where I miraculously made a few more friends, but, unfortunately, we did not stay close.

I know you grew up differently.  And, I know we are different.  You did not hide anything from your friends.  You have been and are real with them.  That's why you have a few good, deep-heart friends.  You are so fortunate.  I hope that you can continue to maintain and even deepen your friendships, and even make some new ones that are closer geographically.  We need people.

I still need people.  I thought I had finally found a group of friends.  A group of moms that my midwife had found for me.  Yes!  These ladies are still some of the most awesome people.  Friends to laugh with, share anything, learn from...  But, most of them have gone through major changes in the last 6 years and a few have even moved.  So, we don't all get together anymore.  I miss that.

I am in two small groups at our church.  All women.  One I have been in for a few years.  I also participate in a bible study with some other moms.  I have learned how to be honest with myself and others.  I get together weekly (or more) with some other homeschooling moms and their kids.  But, STILL, I haven't deepened those friendships beyond deepening my relationship with God and I really want to.  Maybe I am on the right track.  Maybe by deepening my friendship with Him, I will be better able to deepen my friendship with others.

That's what I am hoping for.  That's what I am praying for.  Sometimes, I feel like I am not "supposed" to make friends (?).

Thankfully, God gave me 4 other deep-heart friendships-my husband and my three boys.  I will work on deepening and strengthening those (and ours!) for now, as I continue to seek out others.

I read a book about parenting that says that everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging.  Yes.  I want to feel a sense of belonging.  I have often felt lacking in that area.  So, I will work on recognizing that and cultivating that, also.  Thanks for being one of my deep-heart friends!  I love you!

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