Posts Tagged With: friends

The Definition of Friendship

 

I know a girl who, when she was in grade school, was asked to write down the name of her best friend in the class on a slip of paper. Her teacher instructed everyone in the class to…but she refused. That same teacher later called the

girl’s mother to tell her that out of all of the slips from the rest of the class the little girl’s name appeared the most; the girl who refused to choose one, to say one person as a best friend was a best friend to so many others. They called her their best friend. Maybe they didn’t have anyone else. Things are so simple in childhood, and yet they are echoes of what is to come.  That girl isn’t little anymore, she’s all grown up, and she feels so alone. Life is tragic, and so often I’ve found that though each of us are surrounded by people most of us feel alone, misunderstood, friendless… Through 7 cups, through everyday encounters in the workplace, in my people place (the school), on facebook. This truth keeps recurring–this overwhelming feeling of aloneness that overcomes the minds of individuals, despite our connected culture, despite our interactions, despite all the best friends catchphrases, and the images we paste on social media of us smiling and surrounded by people, I have come to the realization that most of us feel alone.

I wonder if this is different from, say, ten years ago when life was slower and connections, though fewer, were perhaps more meaningful with depth, or maybe this is an occurrence that has been as pervasive as now ever since man’s fall in the Garden of Eden? Do all of ya’ll have any thoughts on that? Loneliness will not exist in Heaven. What a sweet, relieving thought. But for now it must be dealt with in the long nights, yes, but also in the days when we paste on our happy face whilst surrounded by people, when we practice our small talk skills exchanging recipes and meaningless anecdotes in the attempt to make conversation, doing our best to keep deep or controversial things left by the wayside.  That’s a pet peeve of mine. What is the point of interaction void of meaning? It’s stupid. Chitchat is ridiculous. Let’s talk about the meaning of life not the salad dressing you made for last night’s dinner. Mayhap I’m weird, and thus alone. Depth scares people, I think. But I’ve found it can also attract them. Ask people about themselves and as they grow to trust you they’ll talk for hours. Ask about their struggles and their thoughts and fears. That, for me, is an engaging conversation, that is something worth taking time to talk about.

How do you make friends? How do you find friends? What are you guys’ thoughts on that? Do you feel alone? Do you have friends? Do you feel that most of the friendships in your life are one way, or that both parties are really making an effort? I really don’t have the answers on this topic, but I have lots and lots of questions. There are many friendship related experiences and stories jumbled up in my head besides the one I shared, but that doesn’t mean I know how to make them into a cohesive whole. By now you probably know that conclusive blog posts are not a specialty of mine. On one hand I suppose it doesn’t matter if one can pinpoint the moment when someone becomes more than an acquaintance, when they become a true friend, but on the other hand maybe it does… I suspect that each of us have different definitions for that word “friendship”; I’ve been told that my definition is a rather large set of shoes to fill. I guess we just all expect the other person to go to the lengths we would go, which really isn’t reasonable.  We don’t all speak the same love language, and even when we do love someone and try to speak their love language we are not fluent in it. That is a paraphrase of some of what she said in this post , which was specifically meant to address romantic relationships, but I think that thought applies to the topic of friendship as well. At least, I hope that you could say that your significant other is a friend of yours, if not maybe there is something wrong.

For me, I have found that most of my friends walk a very different path in life than I do. If I’m honest, many of those I talk to on a day to day basis (mostly via social media, though I have met most of them) are not Christians. One that is has drastically different theological views on the topic of predestination and such than I do, another that is is a Catholic who was recently confirmed in the church, but I’m not sure how much she applies of what she knows about God. Judge those things as you will…They know I am Christian. I know people who say your best friends should all be Christians, but I ask them: What happens when things don’t quite work out that way? To a point, yes, you can choose your friends, but most Christians I know are too busy to have time to invest in a friendship with me, and I take what I can get. If “what I can get” is nonChristians is that a crime? Are they somehow lesser friends? I think not. They know my faith and they respect it, some come to me with questions and struggles, some are even yet hesitant to open up. Many of my friendships could be considered one sided…I know a lot about my friends and invest in getting to know them and they don’t know a whole lot about what I’m going through, but part of that is my fault. On one hand I am vulnerable and open, but on another I suppose you could say I’m a hard egg to crack. I like that I confuse people sometimes, I like having an air of mystery, so my aloneness may be self imposed. Maybe that is the case for others too? In any case, this post has gone on for long enough. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Categories: Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

Intangible God

DSCN1089In so many ways I cling to the tangible in my friendships–my imperfect, cluttered human relationships, none of which go as deep as I would like. I can’t see friends’ souls so I cling to smirks and gestures which are  the displayers of emotion, of soul behind skin. I cling to the tangible so it’s hard to claim to have a relationship with the unseeable, intangible One who already knows me better than I know myself. Sometimes I say I can feel His smile, but that’s not the same as seeing it; sometimes I think I can hear Him speak,  His words but a whisper on the wind, but that’s not the same as knowing a person by his voice. Now we see dimly, but someday we shall see face to face. I’m not patient though. I don’t want to wait for this elusive someday. I have no choice.

See, the curtain ripped but not all was revealed. I’m still dealing with the results of the fall, and (sometimes subconsciously) longing for something more. I can never know God well here on this earth, though I try, for my life here is but a shadow and a mist. Even so I must live for the fraction of Him that I do know. While still here I must strive to know more of God, and to serve Him with all of my being. I doubt that I will ever know God fully, not even in eternity, but then at least I shall see Him. I wonder what will be like to see someone I’ve known all my life but never seen. I wonder if his revealment will be the perfect fulfillment, a kind of duh moment– “Of course that’s what He looks like!”–or if seeing God will totally surprise me and unveil Him in ways I had never thought to see Him before.

I feel that what I am writing may be very difficult to follow. I know it is unpolished at best. This, among other reasons, is why I’ve not been writing lately. It’s not that I’ve not been thinking and growing, but rather that my thoughts grow increasingly more intertwined and harder to categorize as working towards a cohesive point or goal as the days drag on. Doesn’t that sound deep and philosophical?

Categories: My Life, Ponderings | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

My Life as a Snowflake

Being different, being weird… it’s hard sometimes. When no one can relate, and everyone thinks you’re crazy. When you have dozens of ‘friends’, but nobody understands your heart. I can’t explain the struggle and the pain. I guess everyone wrestles with it to a degree, but not like this. My worldview is so totally and completely counter cultural, even to the Christian mainstream perception.  It’s a choice I’ve made. I could pretend to blend in, I could easily compromise and become like them. Some of who they are isn’t even wrong, it’s just so not me. My lifestyle is wholly different from any of yours, my priorities aren’t like the rest of the world. This realization has hit me before; it’s hitting me again with stunning clarity. I’m not like them. God made us all different-snowflakes they like to say, but he made me so strange that the rest of the snowflakes stand and gawk. That’s where it gets funny: the strangeness isn’t entirely struggle and pain; it brings on an awful lot of laughter too.

Sitting at a table with a group of people roughly my age the conversation inventibly turned to me. It always ends up there at some point. See, they don’t really know what to do with me, but they want to know more so they ask questions. I answer. The looks on their faces… I can’t even describe. It’s like I’m an alien from a foreign planet, especially when we talk about my lack of any romantic life. I don’t think they’ll ever understand it. I try to explain, but our priorities are just so black and white different. The way we seek to fulfill desire… I could laugh or cry but it’s easier to laugh-though I try not to laugh too hard. It’s not their fault that their small brains can’t wrap around my life. I don’t even try to understand me; it’s just too hard.

It’s interesting though, another realization I’ve made recently regarding these college bound crazies that I’ve spent five days a week with these last nine months: they accept me. Initially I get a lot of different reactions to my weirdness, but in the end it doesn’t matter. I’ve accepted them for who they are; I haven’t tried to change them, and in return they’ve accepted me-even the parts they can’t understand. Walking up towards forty-four of them a couple of weeks ago, realizing how many I’d come to know, and hearing them calling my name. It was an eye-opening experience. Yes, being different is still hard, and yes it’s still hilarious, but their acceptance lessens the burden a bit. I don’t know how else to explain it. Acceptance makes my grapplings to comprehend God’s plan in this a little less significant. Maybe you’ve never experienced what I’ve written above, or maybe it relates to you completely, but can I make one plea at the end of all this? No matter what shape of snowflake you are, can you do me a favor, and accept those around you? Judgementalness never got anyone anywhere, but acceptance can change the world.

Categories: My Life | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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