Footprints and Sand and Friendship and Restless Emptiness

Ever have those days (or nights) when your soul just seems to be crying out for more?  You aren’t exactly sure what is going on inside, but you know there’s something deeper going on…you pray, you dig, you try to wipe away the cobwebs of your mind and inner being…but you just know you can’t sleep…tears run freely and you are sad but you aren’t…you are happy but you aren’t…your soul is …searching.

Allen and I had the wonderful privilege of a few days off in Myrtle Beach this past weekend through Tuesday.  I think this may have started it.  I had the “week from hell” at work just before we went.  Things are extremely busy.  No one is happy in their job.  Everyone is finding fault and blaming and there are many smiles and surface conversations…but no true friendship…no meeting of the souls.

We met friends there.  In Myrtle Beach.  They are from Vermont.  We were from Vermont.  We used to call each other up, go to dinner, tour cheese factories, go sailing, go boondocking, share moments.  This past weekend was a re-entering into that friendship that seemed to be put on hold when we left Vermont for North Carolina to find work and be near children.  As we walked down the beach …step, slide, step, slide…our footprints left dents soon filled in by water and sand…we passed there, but only moments later you could not tell it.  In many ways I feel that way about life.  I am so grateful that I am on this side of the inner turmoil of even a year or two ago…but there are still many questions.  Life is so friend-less now.  We have people here who love us and enjoy time with us…but we have no one who seeks to be with us like Brett and Amy did.  In many of our new homes I would pray for friendship….should you have to do that?  Shouldn’t people want to be your friend?  Life is lonely on this side …

At work I watch as other ladies go to lunch together…or go shopping or antiquing…I’ve always been on this side of it…watching.  I always thought it was me.  There must be something wrong with me.  I’ve been to counseling this year…I’m learning that it’s not me.  I am a good person.  I love people.  I am pleasant and good company.  But I think sometimes people don’t know what to do with me.  I don’t crab a lot (just to Allen…poor man) so when they crab to me I am silent.  Not because I don’t expect them to crab…but because rarely does crabbing help and I often don’t know what to say.  I’m not a good empathizer, I think.  I need to say, “I’m sorry you are having a rough day.  I understand.  I’m here for you.”  But I don’t.  So maybe my silence is misconstrued as judgment…maybe I come off as too good to be true.

My friend crabbed to me this weekend and ended with “Okay, I’m done venting.”  I did tell her it was okay to vent to me.  Sometimes we just need to vent.  Often I don’t feel I have anyone to vent to…except Allen…again poor man.  I wonder sometimes if he thinks I don’t like any of life.  I do.  I loved loved loved this weekend.  I should have been rich.  We talked about that.  What happened?  (smile)  I love being busy at work when no one else is around.  I love doing a good job in my work even though I could care less if another cleanroom wiper were manufactured or sold when all is said and done for the day.

I love my garden.  I love my roses and flowers.  I love my children and grandchildren.  I love love my church at The Summit.  I love counseling.  I love Jesus…my Savior, my God, my best friend Who loves me in spite of me and because of Who He is.

So see, soul….we have a lot to be thankful for.  Don’t be in turmoil.  Even if your footprints on this earth never amount to much…Jesus’ footprints did and have meant everything in your life.  Friends like Brett and Amy have meant the world to you.  Your children and grandchildren continue to speak to you even though you desire for more of them.  You have had some wonderful times with each of them…they have given in to your growth and abundance over the years…the tender times…the hoopla times of rowdy abandon…the quiet times…the dancing in the kitchen times.  Even if you never have another time like those…you have had a lifetime of memories with each one to fill you in the dark recesses of you and get you through those nights of no sleep and restlessness.

Yes, that’s it…it is a restlessness of my soul tonight.  There must be more.  There must be friendships out there like we had this weekend…somewhere….someone to speak life into us…someone to speak life into.

Be still my soul and trust in God.The Lord is on our side.  He will prevail.  He will not let you be consumed with this life…but will fill you and give you purpose and strengthen and give you peace.

Fitting In

It seems my whole life I’ve been trying to “fit in.”  As a child I was the youngest in the class beginning Kindergarten when I was four…a whole three months before I would turn five.  I thrived in school; except socially.  I think I’ve been stunted in that area the rest of my life.  I was shy around boys forever it seems.  Now, I prefer talking with men.  Let me rephrase that.  I usually prefer to talk to men. I don’t feel the judgment or the attitudes that sometimes us women throw around at one another.  From time to time I sense being “set aside” by the male company like my opinions don’t matter, but unfortunately, I find that most in church settings amongst male leadership.

Tonight at my Counseling training class we broke up into groups…teams of four we will be with for many months and years ahead.  We had to share about how we came to Christ.  That was easy.  He’s done so much for me and has been my all for so many years.  Our team of four was only three tonight and the other two women have had very different lives from mine.  I could tell they clicked with one another.  I trust that my counseling pastor and Holy Spirit know who I need to be in a group with so I’m tentatively hopeful that at some point God will show me my part of fitting in.  I can see areas I’ve struggled in that I could help them with…but they are fellow counselors…not Life Care Recipients.  They haven’t come to me for wisdom or help…just friendship.  That’s the part I find difficult.  All of my friends over the years have fallen away.  My best friends from high school gave me up a short two years after graduation.  My best friends from college it took a bit longer…but other than facebook stalking me…they don’t really have any input in my life and haven’t been there for me for many, many years.  One of the statements made tonight came in the form of a question and answer.  “How do you know who your real friends are?”  “They are the ones when you are hurting who stand at your door and knock.”  I looked sadly at my husband and said, “Wow…that doesn’t bode well for us, does it?”

I wonder sometimes if it’s me since so many have left me over the years.  I mean, I see women laughing and chatting together in stores and restaurants all the time.  But I’m incapable of empathizing and small talk that other women enjoy so much.  I’m pretty serious.  I love a good joke and chuckle a lot to myself.  Maybe I’m insane. 😀  But life is so short I have a hard time not being real with people and most women don’t like that I guess.  I’ve mentioned before that I take a lot before I say anything…but there comes a point when someone is bellyaching or constantly harping or gossiping that I have to say…enough….and that’s when it comes.

I wonder if the same will be true of these women…my team.  Will they come to love me?  Will we come to love each other and our differences and gifts we bring to the table?  Will I ever fit in?  Am I really made for this counseling thing?  I am a truth sayer.  I must trust that God knows that and is able to bring just the right people my way who need my gifts.  I was once kicked out of youth group leaders (as the youth pastor’s wife) because other leaders didn’t want me in there … my friends….my peers.  I cried so hard that day and went to the pier to contemplate whether life was worth living if I couldn’t minister where my heart was.  I learned another hard lesson…in that death of my dream and vision…that God’s journey for me …if I submit…is much easier to bear and worth far more than my dream…but if I fight it….He will still take me down that road…with me kicking and clawing all the way…but with no peace for me.  If I desire peach…I must trust…and I must listen well to His voice…and submit to His plan…whether or not I fit in…ever.

“Human tragedies:  We all want to be extraordinary and we all just want to fit in.  Unfortunately, extraordinary people rarely fit in.” Sebastyne Young 

haha  You read things like that and it gives a reason…so I must be extraordinary because I don’t fit in…oh my….I wish it were true…I think it is more that God knows if I were to fit in…I could not give Him glory quite as well.  I must trust that He knew that when He made me.  I am extraordinary to Him and that’s all that matters.

John 14:14-16 “You are My friends if you do what I command you. “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.…”