There isn’t supposed to be anything wrong with my life, but indeed, I am altered. The sensation that I’d lost my friends and loved ones set on slow, like a glacier gouging into the yard. Undetected, gradual things shoved into my foundations underground before I knew it, without prior notice or consent from me or my loved ones. My picket fences are smashed. My faithful ones remain, but I have gone.
Friendship means something different to me now. It means navigating the tension between letting them be there for me versus managing expectations. As much as a friend will some day understand, right now, they can’t. It’s wanting to be known truly, pit against protecting others from undue pain. It’s shouldering my own ungraciousness; wanting to say how repugnant domestic talk about recipes and décor is while I feel like I am standing over a wasteland holding a Dutch oven in one hand and a diffuser in the other. Yet, I wouldn’t deny them the enjoyment of simple pleasures, like I once enjoyed. I don’t want to ruin anything. And yet, the only way to avoid empty, false relationships is to look at the underbelly together and wipe up the slime it has left behind. It seems cruel to ask my friends and family to dip in, and so why don’t I just handle the mess by myself? You can see I had to set the Dutch oven down for that.
Dr. Dan Allender writes about choosing to deal with pain in a healthy way in The Wounded Heart; “The process would be difficult even in an ideal world with supportive partners, friends, and churches. In many cases, the external battle is dramatically difficult because others would prefer the nice woman remain sweet, the competent woman remain in control, and the happy-go-lucky woman remain the life of the party. When change is bumpy and messy, particularly if it impels others to change, it is viewed with suspicion and rancor usually reserved for the worst heretics. But what is viewed as the greatest heresy is usually the thing that calls those committed to comfort to deepest change (2018).”
I long to keep my competence, and all appearances of it. Fun and control would be nice, too.
I’m writing invitations for tea over smashed picket fences. I want to be hospitable, although perhaps sparing others a view of the devastation would be a mercy. Shouldn’t a hostess shine by making others feel the comforts of home? Still, I see the places where my beloved ones are willing to come alongside. I know their better natures, I see them. I believe in their goodness. I invite you; prepare yourself; and I know you have your limits. I see willingness to enter in. That moves me more than I can say.
Trophy Warrior by Audrey Opp-Waverick is now available at Amazon.com.
Photo Credit; Francesco Paggiaro 2018