Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Worth It

This morning I woke up with a raw emotional welt.  It was one of those silly Facebook things. You tell yourself "I'm 37 not 12. It's no big deal. Whatever."  But the truth is, that whether you are 4 or 40, when somebody doesn't want to be your friend anymore, it hurts.

And then I get to thinking, "Well, it figures.  You aren't very good at friendship anyway. You never remember birthdays on time. You have never seemed to figure out giving little gifts.  You don't shop with girlfriends. You hardly ever initiate. They always have to ask you out to things. You are no fun, actually.  You have pretty much always sucked at being friends, really.  It's no wonder..."  And then, the logical conclusion (for perfectionists anyway)  "If you suck at it, you shouldn't even try to do it."

In my healthier moments, I know that for me, while I may not express it the same way as other people, I deeply value my friends.  The older I get, the more I realize how much richness they bring to my life and how cold and narrow things are without them.  I also am deeply convinced that I cannot live out my faith without them. And while I am lousy with the obvious stuff, what I most want to give to my friends is the freedom to be themselves...the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am the biggest cheerleader for the ones I love to figure out what makes them tick and how to tick better. 

But if this Lenten fast has taught me anything, it's just how vast my array of defense mechanisms are. This morning, I could feel myself retreating into myself. Wanting to hide. Second guessing everything.  Hating myself. Wallowing in black and white thinking "If you could just change everything about yourself...yeah...that would be great."  Mind-reading...you know that great game where you pick a person or two and tell yourself how they really see you.  

All of these are ways of avoiding being present, vulnerable, and aware in a healthy way.

And then the mail was delivered. Really early today. Robb went out and got it and brought me a heavy package from a friend. She sent me....the beach.


I provided the salt-water.

We haven't talked or even interacted on Facebook in awhile. But we keep in touch as best we can as two busy pastors wives and moms. We've been friends for a long, long time.  What she told me with her beautiful gift was that it's ok that I am me. Just as I believe with my whole heart that it's ok for her to be her. She reminded me today that it really is worth it to be friends. Even if you sometimes get hurt. It's worth it to connect. To understand. To laugh. To cry.  To hold up a mirror for the other person that shows them they aren't ugly as they fear...but rather, in fact, delightful, unique, kind-hearted, and brave.  I was feeling so badly this morning, but her gift made me step back and think of all the beautiful people who are my friends. They are such good people...such fun, thoughtful, wonderful people.  If they are my friends, I must not suck as much as I fear I do.

Thank you, Friend.  You did a beautiful thing.


8 comments:

Candice said...

You are worth it. We don't get it all in our spin around the sun, so we gotta work with what we have...friendship seems to me like this one of those orchestrated minuets or (more likely with my history)square dancing. There are a lot of nice people to dance with, and some songs are longer than others. But fret not, because I have found that evn partners whose toes I have stepped on out of ignorance or selfishness or even plain old unavoidable consequence, something bigger than the both of us, sometimes come spinning around again. You just have to stay in the dance....

ANNIE COPPOCK said...

Vanessa - All those not-so-flattering things you said about yourself? I don't find ANY of them to be part of the essense of who you are in the experience of you. You are delightful, creative, loving, encouraging, supportive, and deep -- all truly wonderful qualities! I wish you felt as amazing are you ARE!

Now -- that said, let's have lunch or coffee SOON! Deal?

gerbmom said...

Vanessa,
I so totally understand this post. What makes it even more difficult for me right now is my enforced aloneness. Facebook and email are my lifelines.
I wish I was one of those people that did all those fun little things for people to brighten their day. I do sometimes, but way less than I should I'm not a card sender, and I hate talking on the phone. And yet I so intensely feel others joy and pain. I just don't do a good job of telling them. And rarely in a creative way.
Not sure where I'm going with this ramble. I really just wanted to say I understand. I think we would be good friends.....

Jess said...

I totally empathize with your friendship plight. I have little to zero capacity for the maintenance relationships require. I am doing well to just keep my marriage together and kids close. I really struggle to understand this "lack" in myself. :(

Ness said...

Annie...I'm in for coffee! I've been holding back so you can get used to having your man around the house : ) But we have lots to catch up on!!!

Karen, I think you and I are a lot alike. If people need somebody to tell them they aren't crazy, WE are their people! And just like an emotional tuning fork, we are feeling for them and with them....

And Jess...you've been a good friend to me on many an occasion. I can tell you are carrying a lot right now so stop beating yourself up. Know that you have a big fan of Jess right here.

Holly said...

It's amazing how one thing - usually something you would not have expected - turns you inside out and upside down in an ugly way? I hate when it's happening and I when it's happening to me.

Do what you can to be a better friend but realize you have your own limits which are absolutely okay. It's okay to reflect and see where we need to grow and also reflect and see where we're doin' okay. Seems that's what happened today.

What a wonderful "coincidence" today.

akr said...

Salt water here too. It's a God thing I tell ya! I love your vintage, butterfly heart and the moments God has allowed us to enter into each other's lives. I'm a fan.

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