Sunday, October 4, 2015

Things I wish I had known (part 1 of more to come eventually)

I wish I had known years ago that when you become an adult, your friends all become too busy for you. Not consciously, of course. Just as a result of having to go out into the world and become something. Everyone moves away, gets married, goes to school for years, works tirelessly to make something of his/her life, and slowly fades away. No one has time for just you because there are always other things that need attention.

(Side note: I have friends. I have excellent, friends-for-life friends. But they live far, far away from me, and it's not the same as when we were young and relatively carefree. And it's certainly not the same as having in-person friends that you can call up on a whim and go adventuring with.)

Add huge life changes to the mix...having a child, moving away, "big-girl jobs"...and each event is automatically more isolating to the nth degree.

Add transitioning to a single parent to the mix, when many of your friends haven't even been struck with baby fever yet, and suddenly most people feel like they don't know how to talk to you any more. They "like" your pictures and comment on how sweet your daughter is. They pray for you. They wish you the best. But there's an understood gap in the closeness from that point forward. Empathy goes hand in hand with experience for most people--just a fact of life. Once you surpass someone's experience, sympathy steps in, and sympathy is usually not comforting at all, at least for me.

Add in the fact that being a single parent leaves you with no partner or equal to unload your brain information on, and the isolation is real. The silence is deafening sometimes. Deep, dark pit lonliness. Screaming mind and empty house with no people in it (or just a 3-year-old in it who only deserves to see my happy face, not the one where I'm glazed over with worry). Heartwrenching need for a real, live human person to interact with, but so many things to do that I don't even have the time for that. There's side-job money to be made. There's mothering to do, errands to run, a house to clean, homework to be done, clothes to be washed, food to put on the table, sleep to be had. Every waking hour is spent trying to make ends meet and worrying ceaselessly when they don't.

You're in a predicament where you need a shoulder all the time, and no one has one available. Whether that's a result of being so wrapped up in a companion for years and letting friendships become secondary or whether everyone really is too busy with their own stuff or whether it just happens with age, it's very alarming to be in a situation where you need a person, but all you seem to have is multiple people over which you have to thinly spread out your burdens for fear of becoming one yourself.

But dumping small things on multiple people and spreading the burden evenly is tiresome. It's like re-telling the state of your headspace over and over, but only on a small scale so as not to freak anyone out with the gravity of it all. Kind of like the tiresomeness of the process of making new friends to begin with. And the censorship of true authenticity because who wants to constantly reveal and never receive?

I'm a strong person, but no person can be all strong, all the time. It's easy to see how people drown in the weight of the world. There's a breaking point, a faultline, a thin little crack, and eventually a sinkhole where no one can find you. However, I choose to believe that I will never find mine.

Sticks and stones can break my bones, but earth can never hurt me. I have Jesus, I have my daughter, and I have writing. Amazing how you can find beauty in the most suffocating spaces. Lonliness forces me to find beauty every day.

This is not my one shot at life with everything outside of my control; my real life is waiting for me in heaven, and it rests perfectly in God's hands and timing.
This is not my predicament until the end of time; I'll spend eternity with my Lord and Savior and all the family who were taken from me too soon.
These are not my problems, for I have none.
There are no friends absent from me--not really; my true friends hold me in their hearts, even if they have no clue what to say or how to help me right now. And who could begrudge someone for that, anyway? We're all out here trying to survive.
I won't always be without people in my everyday life; one day I'll have companionship with the heavenly choir and love music again because my sister will be there, too.

I will not let this dark world steal my light. I know what's to come...I know what awaits me for all the days after my last day. Money, all fades away. I will never stop seeking out the good or searching for joy. Even if I die trying.

I wish I had known that it's far more important to ground yourself in Jesus fully and completely, above all else in life, against all odds--because his is the only shoulder you'll ever need and ever always have.