Adventures In… ch.40
January 22, 2011 § 1 Comment
I charged towards the bedroom door with all intentions of punching it, my breath at a fast pace and my mind spinning ruthlessly. The moment of anger lasted only a short time and the door (the chair, the wall, the long board) was saved from meeting my fury. After the anger subsided I was left with a bunch of questions and a few tears. A situation that wasn’t so horrible was now being used as a divisive way to attack my very heart and mind.
The enemy in all his scheming had saved his best blow for last. Nearly two weeks had gone by in which I felt attacked in ways physically, mentally, and emotionally. I and my sister both got sick twice, her car was broken into and her wallet stolen, I burned my finger, I faced what seemed like unending challenges at work, and while all of these things seem trivial when written down in front of me, the way they were used against me felt like a weight I would not be able to carry much longer.
Standing in my apartment I made declaration after declaration that what was coming against me had to stop. Shortly after each declaration I felt another attack. Mentally I was drained. I felt like a failure. Lie after lie I fought. I didn’t feel beautiful enough but I put on some makeup anyway. I didn’t feel accomplished or successful but I did some shopping, baked a cake, and started thinking about my future. When I didn’t feel like being around friends anymore I curled up on the couch and told myself it was time for some rest.
Sometimes rest is good. Other times “rest” is an excuse to be anti social, to give into the thought that seclusion is what you need when in fact it’s nothing but a place where insecurity grows and attacks are made all the more threatening. The other day I had had enough and decided to head to a home group that a few of my friends attended. I pulled on my new red sweater and straightened my hair. I put on mascara while declaring that there wasn’t anything the enemy could do to bring me down. Thirty minutes later I was clenching my fists and headed for the door – but not to leave. Maybe I just needed to punch something or perhaps flinging the chair or the long board would release the tension. Somewhere between putting on that mascara and grabbing my jacket I found myself facing another post divorce emotion. It wasn’t the feelings that were so much the issue, it wasn’t even the fact that something in my apartment might get damaged; it was all of the questions, all of the lies, and the brink that I stood at.
I had a choice. It wasn’t easy. I took off my nice clothes and put on a plaid wool shirt and jeans. I stared at the couch while weighing my options to cave or to stand. Pulling myself together I headed out the door, the tears still in my eyes. I walked into the home group feeling out of place. After a few songs of worship the leader said that he knew there were people there that felt like they were being attacked and that in this time they needed family.
While I know that God was confirming my presence at that meeting the “family” part has been difficult for me to accept. Thinking about it today I realized that I am completely open and honest with people unless I am in need (be it the need for support or comfort or advice). I trust my friends whole heartedly but allowing them into my life to the point where they, as family, pray for me and support me and keep me from angrily throwing chairs across the room is much more intimate then what I have experienced in former friendships.
Past betrayal from my best friend and confidante has left me a little more bruised than I previously thought. The first person I let into my life was the one who has hurt me the most. The hugs at the home group from friends who had no idea of the evening’s prior situation restored something in my heart. But I still didn’t tell any of them what had happened earlier that evening. And why not? Was I afraid of judgment or was I afraid of love? Was I afraid of letting people in or the thought of letting people go?
I was quick to makes plans for the following night as I knew the couch would seem ever inviting but only leave me feeling lonely and drowning in self doubts. So over dinner I shared with my friend the week I had had and I briefly mentioned what had hurt my heart so bad the evening before. We then ate sushi and laughed over a beer. Somewhere during the night I ran into two childhood friends. All of this has me thinking – about friends, and friends being family and what it is that keeps me from fully embracing it all.
The last couple of years I have spent proving to people that I am strong and can help myself, that I don’t need a man. I have been honest about my journey and ever quick to point out that I am dancing in freedom and restoration. But I have also built a wall – a wall that readily displays who I am but keeps people from getting too close, a wall that makes me feel like I don’t need support, a wall that says I can get by with just my thoughts and a pencil and paper.
This wall hasn’t just kept out friends but also guys I have liked. It lets people know me but only to the extent that feels safe to me. The other night I was scared. My mother was the only person who knew I was having a terrible couple of weeks. I had temporarily shut out my friends. I was grabbing for chairs to fling and gasping for my breath. I was facing things I had already faced years ago…but this time I couldn’t do it alone. This time I didn’t have to do it alone. There are people waiting to hear about a bad night and give me a hug. I have friends that are ready to pray for me and remind me of the hope I have. But without letting them know what’s going on they cannot be that kind of family to me.
Vulnerability – it’s not just about being open and honest. It’s not just about sharing my past or telling people stories. It’s about letting someone know that I need a hug or that I need prayer. It’s about being honest about what still makes me hurt. It’s about being able to tell people what I struggle with…and then being able to hear what advice they have to give. That’s vulnerability. And that’s the kind of transparency that is needed when I allow people to be my friends and my family.
I am still nervous about being vulnerable, about admitting that I need a family. I am leery of letting people step into a spot that has been void for the last couple of years – a spot that I thought would disappear with time. But I am tired of trying to do the journey of life alone. It’s no longer about what adventures I can go on by myself and what stories I can then share with others. I don’t want to continue this journey alone. It’s time for family.