Tag Archive | friendship

See Me

See MeThis week I found myself reading a lot of blogs. It might seem that, as a blogger, I read blogs on a regular basis. I don’t. Too often the point of a blog is to tell me I’m failing, that I say or do or think or believe the wrong things. Some of them are right, and some are not, but regardless, I’m not much of a blog reader.

So for me to find myself on blog after blog was strange. Even stranger was the common threads in these blogs. Some were well-known bloggers with thousands of subscribers. Some were not. But all of them were saying the same thing. All of them said I want to be seen.

Every blog I read this week was about connection. Introverts lamenting the world that doesn’t understand them. Foreign students lamenting life in new cultures. Chronically ill lamenting a world that dismisses the sick or expects them to suck it up and get with the program. Bloggers lamenting words sent into the void with no feedback. People ache for connection.

I did a lot of commenting this week. Also not common for me. Commenting can open a person up for ridicule, shaming, all kinds of nasty things. Those who comment, even on religious blogs, can be horrible. But I commented. And what I said boiled down to this one thing, even though I never used the words.

I see you, and doing so isn’t a waste of my time.

I get it. I long for connections, too. I have worked hard to be invisible, to avoid conflict, to protect my introverted, socially-awkward self. I worked to be invisible and then wept because nobody saw me. It’s senseless. But that’s the truth of it. Too many of us put on cloaks of invisibility and then suffocate beneath them, hoping someone out there will show up, rip them off, and see what’s beneath. Hoping when they do, we won’t turn out to be a waste of their time.

I miss the world of conversations and afternoon visits. I spend most of my time in a house with people. Rarely am I alone. And yet, we can all be staring at our screens a million miles apart. We rarely see one another. In church we promise to get together during the week, and it doesn’t happen. Life happens, we say. Crazy week. Maybe next week. As though life happening is a reason to hide and not a reason to reach out.

Maybe when life happens, when I’m feeling the need to be invisible, when I’m so lost I’m writing blogs begging someone to see me, I should reach out. Possibly I’ll be rejected because life is happening to my friends, too, and we deal with life alone. Or I’ll be rejected because there’s a lot to see on social media this week. Or a new quest on the video game. Or… It’s easier to make excuses than to be seen. Life is messy. If you see me, the real me, it’s not pretty. It might be a waste of your time. Your time is precious.

But, to those bloggers who opened their hearts this week, who called for connections, who admitted fears and illness and imperfections and then had to courage to say, in the midst of it all: See Me

I’m looking at you. I feel that connection. You’re worth the time.

As I’ve focused on the Spirit lately, I feel less of this. First, I know I’m seen by the most important person. Inside and out, he sees and understands and loves me. Second, being confident in that love helps me step out more boldly in relationships. I’m still a super introvert, but I’ve come a long way toward sharing with less fear, so I don’t feel that aloneness the way I once did.

In this life, our paths may never cross. But one day, I want to introduce myself and laugh and smile and trade stories and plan outings without the baggage of this life. No more invisibility. No more fears. No more being too small or too sick or too quiet.

I long for those days. For the final rescue of the One who sees us and loves us and never, ever once feels we’re a waste of His time.

The Elusive Christian Community

Community blogIf you’ve been in a church for any length of time, you’ve watched the powers that be wrestle with community.  Personally, I’ve been part of Life Groups, Community Groups, Women’s Groups, Homeschool Groups, and a number of other programs designed to unite us into communities.   I’ve seen them divided by life stages, educational preference, sex, and more.   The biggest common factor is that a couple years down the road someone throws up his/her hands in despair and tries a new program of community.

Not to say we shouldn’t try.  The Bible is filled with commandments about unity, bearing burdens, praying together, eating together, sharing belongings, and otherwise being in community.  It sounds so simple–we are all part of this invisible kingdom.  In a way, it’s us against the world.  That united purpose should create some sort of natural community, right?  So why is it so hard to do that? Continue reading

Car Blessings

car-insuranceFor the past couple months, my oldest son has been using my car. This means that most of the time I am trapped at home. My husband will drive me around, but only if I’m going somewhere he wants to be. I’m sure it’s good for our finances that I can’t leave right now, but it’s driving me a little bit crazy. Between the winter weather and having no car, I feel less than sane some days.

There’s a strange upside to this, though. I’m part of a small church. I am in a Bible study, and sometimes my son and I help feed people at a homeless mission. However, if I’m going to participate in any of these events, someone has to come get me.

What’s amazing is what can happen in fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes in the car can lead to such discussions. Sure, sometimes it’s just catching up. And that has value. I don’t spend time keeping up with people like I should. I am a small talk disaster, so those post-worship minutes on Sunday when everyone connects over coffee–yeah. I’m not connecting. I’m hiding in the corner wondering how a person could Possibly be as bad at small talk as I am.

However, a car is a one-on-one setting. That’s my forte. There’s little eye contact, which somehow makes deep conversation easier. It’s private and intimate, and I’ve had some of the best conversations in cars lately. Sometimes it’s spiritual, like a discussion about gifts and prayer with a deacon in my church. Or a discussion about suicide, loss, and how God can use those in a life with my pastor. How about a discussion about guiding and loving adult children with the pastor’s wife?

Sometimes it’s just fun. Conversations about kids and life with a friend while heading to coffee. Laughter over anything. Joy from a young mom who’s excited for the opportunity to have adult conversation.

Sometimes it’s silence, simply basking in the presence of another soul without the need to speak. How often do we spend moments of silence with people we love, feeling no pressure to speak but taking comfort in not being alone? If rain is hitting the car and it’s easier to stare out the window than engage in conversation–that can be as healing to the soul as anything, and it never happens on Sunday morning.

My husband is in the process of procuring a clunker car that either he or my son can use, so soon I’ll be independent again. I’m excited, because errands are piling up. Nobody will take me to Lowe’s. I need to visit the Post Office. My youngest son has a gift card for yoga classes and hasn’t been able to use it. However, I will miss car time with people from my church, especially people I don’t normally spend time with. Fifteen minutes here or there for conversations, laughter, silence, and the bonds of community. Maybe carpooling can become a new spiritual discipline for a crazy-busy, independent world. Maybe all of us should double up and drag one another to events and spend moments making quiet connections. Once I’m mobile again, I hope to offer rides and turn my own car into a space for spiritual growth and life. For someone who isn’t great at small talk, my times of car blessings have made a world of difference to me.

Finally, I have a giveaway going on right now at my alter-ego website where I hawk my novels. Entering is easy (no signups for anything!), and the prize is a ceramic prayer box. To enter, head over there by clicking HERE. Enter once or daily until March 6.DSC00955