See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. – 1 John 3:1
I have been feeling “blah” since last weekend.
And by “blah,” I mean lonely, alone, ignored, friendless, clueless, etc. (and exhausted, which is probably the cause for most of it).
Is it still the “living in a new place” thing? I don’t know. It shocks me when I see how many Myrtle Beach area Facebook friends I have. Surely, it’s not that. All 100ish of those friends are friends and not just people who are friendly because of a specific purpose or commonality before they vanish from everyday life.
Is it that my friends in Illinois have moved on, have new activities and inside jokes and people to fill up their days? Surely not. It is to be expected. And surely the distance hasn’t magnified our differences and made my friendship less worthy of maintaining. I don’t in any way want them to daily pine for my presence in their kitchens or on their church pew or across from them at El Cortez.
Is it that so many people I used to consider friends were clearly just “business acquaintances? Of course not. Nobody pretended to like me because I promoted a concert or published a magazine or had a service to trade that may or may not catapult them 2.5 inches toward some sense of abstract something-or-other. Totally not. I expected it, so it doesn’t hurt at all.
Is it that my husband, who during the course of our almost-10 year marriage has almost always been home for dinner, and who from August 2009 until this past May was with us all the time, is traveling almost every week, to the point that some days I don’t even remember where he is? No. I am Woman. Hear me roar. Watch me do it by myself.
Yesterday, I sat in a Christmas show with KK at one of the area theatres. My friend from high school, unbeknownst to me, was in it. KK and Randa’s old preschool was there on a field trip. The bathroom had signs about a show coming there in the spring that was going to be coming to “one of our theatres” at several different points. It was rainy and cold. I was ticked over some work stuff. And all of these things meshed together for me to feel in the pits. And one word flashed through my head: Marginalized. I’ve been marginalized.
I have never liked the connotation of that word when it applies to people. It makes me think of refugees or genocide survivors, people who have seen hell on earth and been forgotten, or people who were singled out for something they couldn’t control – gender, race, economic status, starvation and homelessness – and told that they were less than everybody else. It is not a pretty word. And I hate that it popped into my white America, middle class, wife-and-mother brain.
But it’s how I feel… pushed to the sideline, not in the center of anything, without a place to belong.
And being a believer in Christ, and a product of a bumber-sticker/FB meme generation, the immediate response to this is: But you are always in the center of God’s vision.And I know this. It’s just that God does not sleep next to me at night, or want to meet up at the mall/beach/McD’s with the kids on a random weekday afternoon, or make eye contact with me over the fact that we both have 6 year-olds in ballet.
Mini-rant: for crying out loud, Community, what does it cost you to look someone in the eye and maybe even smile?!
He keeps whispering to me, and just like I am refusing to wear “a winter coat in South Carolina” even though it’s 44 degrees, I refuse to listen. He shows me how much my little girls want and need my attention. He shows me how much my older kids – who have also been uprooted from their friends and are trying to navigate a new social climate – enjoy hanging out and doing things together. It’s like He is saying, “Look, Ms. Social Butterfly, your full and frolicking circle of friends in Illinois is great, still in tact even. And you do have people here to share your holidays and hug your kids and have your back. But your everyday stuff? I have given you 5 – now 6 – people to share that with. Suck. It. Up. Be grateful for what you have. Lean on Me in those lonely nights… (or maybe go to bed early. Or mop the dirty floor!) You are not marginal. You are, however, also not in high school. You don’t need a constant stream of people to keep you company. And you need to be the matriarch of your family, whether you are 35 or 55….doesn’t matter.
I repent for feeling alone in a crowded room. I am ashamed for the buried-deep-inside notion that people’s lack of friendship is about me. And I will try my hardest to remember that as a child – and follower – of God, I am not supposed to focus on the feeling or seeking of comfort. That is not what this life is about.I have waved the flag of a quiet Christmas, and it is time for me to embrace it.
I come back to the lyrics of a favorite (newer) Christmas classic and marvel at how God somehow knew our hearts before we were ever born~
Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting
Welcome Holy Child. – Chris Rice.