This past week has been a bit of an upheaval for me. I don't really do new year's resolutions, but as I began to contemplate some areas of my life and where they were going, something slammed me hard: for several days I felt alone and overlooked and neglected and like someone had taken a big chunk of my chest and ripped it out. There was a gaping wound and vacuum where a sense of belonging and companionship and love should have been. This made me take a long hard look at the relationships in my life and ask questions that I usually don't like to ask.
1. In what relationships am I investing heavily in without much return?
2. In what relationships do I expect the other person to always come over to my side of things?
3. In what relationships does the other person usually expect me to come to their turf?
4. What people are ready, willing and able to spend quality time with me and invest in who I am?
5. What people make me feel like they always want something from me, like the relationship is based on their needs?
6. What relationships make both parties come alive and carry a good balance of give and take and most importantly, are a place where both of us are always truthful?
After an honest look and a few heart-wrenching observations, I have decided to focus my friendship and relationship efforts on only a few people this year, and those are the people that I feel genuinely give life to me and receive life from interaction with me. This does not mean that I will neglect all the needy people around me or refuse their requests, but it does mean that I will try not to work from expectations (mine as well as others) anymore, but from truth.
I want to be more honest with the people who are my friends (and with myself) and not feel like I must avoid upsetting people by stifling or adjusting what I honestly feel and think. I have found myself saying more of what I truly think and see to a few people (with an attempt to be gracious, of course), and they have responded in the most wonderful and embracing way, proving that they also want to pursue truthful and growing friendships.
These few friends are people that I can learn with, that I can grow with, that get as excited by positive opportunities for change as I do. They are not easily offended and have plenty to give and are not too proud to receive. I have spent too much of my life trying to be a mediocre friend to pretty much everyone that displays some interest in me or pursuing people that feed some deep, dark craving in my needy soul. Enough of that. It is time to bring all this stuff out of the closet into the light, to sort out the old and worn and ill-fitting habits. And to bring out the garments that are made for this season, that really bring out who I am.
Let me respond to the life I find in those friendships that God is feeding and not settle for endless servings of inadequate and unmet expectations based on insecurity and need instead of love.
These are Dean's boots inside the door of the house in St. Lazare. They are made for walking.