Sunday, October 31, 2004
the same way I did, as if she always had to get things started, that no one
ever called her. Her response was to just keep calling people.
My response was rather churlish. I talked about my "Anti-pest Principle,"
that I assumed if no one called me it meant they didn't want to hear from
me. That's true, as far as it goes, but I think I missed her point. She was
trying to be encouraging and I just shot her down with a quick
counter-statement that showed no understanding.
The truth is that I don't know. I hear about people who are always calling
each other, and I hear many of them directly. Everywhere I go people are
talking on cell phones. Who are they talking to?
In the Book of Acts, the believers are described as meeting frequently to
share food, worship, ideas, and all the other things people do. They seemed
to enjoy meeting, and did so a few time each week.
What does it take to reach that elite status? Whatever it is, I don't have
it. If I died today it'd be a month or so before anyone outside of work
noticed. The most reasonable conclusion I can come up with is that there's
something wrong with me, that no one wants to talk to me. So I'm certainly
not going to bother them by calling; if they wanted to talk to me, they'd
make some effort in reaching me.
Maybe not. Breezze said that many, perhaps most, people just don't call
others. Maybe they're even more shy than I am. She said we needed more
people like me, who could put themselves forward and make the contact.
How am i to judge? People are good actors. They may say they're glad I
called, but inside they're thinking "How soon can I get this pest off the
line so I can go on about my life?"
What if she's right? What if there are many people out there who truly are
more shy than I, who are waiting for someone to make contact with them?
It's a world made of cells. The doors are unlocked but everyone's afraid to
open them. Some of us are more desperate for contact than others, so we go
against habit and open the door.
Until we get tired. Then what? Everyone else is used to the modus operandi,
and they're waiting for someone to reach through the door. When the person,
such as I, who used to reach in is too tired to do so, everything comes to
Maybe we've just lost the skill. It has been buried in Satan-inspired
business. Everything is more important than relationships. Making money,
making plans to make money, working another job, saving the world, planning
grandiose events to save the world. "I'll talk to you later. I'm just busy
right now." And years go by. Loneliness becomes a habit, to the point where
living alone becomes an appreciated skill. Self-sufficiency is the new God.
I don't know how this is supposed to work. I do know that I'm tired, and
wish there were someone out there who'd reach in through the door once in a
while to find out how I'm doing. On Breezze's Blog there's an interesting
thread on telling stories. We've all agreed there's great human power,
inspired by God, in the stories we tell of our lives. I'm glad we can do so
through blogging, but it'd be nice to do it face to face. I'll just have to
keep following Jesus and see where He leads. He's the only real hope I have
to find a solution to this problem.
I agree that people are great actors. Whew, some of them I've met deserve Oscars, I tell ya! But, I don't think you don't take that truth far enough down it's logical path. All those people you see talking on the phone, all happy and in vigorous conversations... could it be that that's all an act as well? Could it be all the boisterous talk of weekend plans, or of weekend happenings are exaggerated...
Larry, I think you are a rare breed in the world, in that you don't play the social games of pretending to be happy, fulfilled, having "good" friends, etc. Most people lie about all of them, not only to others, but to themselves. They spend years in unfilling relationships because, frankly, they don't think they'd have anything at all if they let go of them... Better to live with unfulfilling friendships than let them go and be alone. And, honestly, I think that most people, if they were truly honest, don't believe that real friendship exists. They stay with the relationships they have simply because they don't think it can get any better. So they pretend. They laugh, and talk, and carry on about plans and doings, all the while going to bed each night unfulfilled, their souls screaming, "is this all there is???"
I am guilty of that pretending. For many years it was just a way of life for me. Finally, I learned to be real. To be honest about my feelings... but it's a long learning process and I still struggle with it. I still struggle with identifying what I'm feeling, nonetheless why I'm feeling it... what the cause is. --You are way ahead of me there, having already identified not only the what but the why.-- And I still find myself clinging to unfulfilling relationships for stupid-human-reasons (kind of like David Letterman's stupid human tricks, but with logic behind the behavior... either way, it's folly), until God finally pries my fingers off and places my hands on relationships HE desires me to nurture.
I'm also very guilty of being the one not to call... I'm a strange duck, I am! I feel sorry for myself because "no one" from our life group ever calls me here or emails me back, even though I've called or emailed... and at the same time, I often don't answer my phone because, frankly, I'm still really struggling with depression. All I want to do is withdraw, hide in my cave under my covers, in the dark, and let the world just pass me by. ---- I want people to call, to email and show me they care but at the same time, I just don't want to talk to them. How whacked is that!
Poor Wendy! I am one of the ones she so gracious calls time and time again. I never let her call go to voicemail when I know it's her -- we do get quite a game of voicemail tag going sometimes because, while I long to withdraw and hide from the world, I still have commitments that take me away from even, gasp!, my cell phone (unbelievable, I know). Wendy has a way of pulling my head out of my butt while at the same time showing me so much compassion and grace. And it's not what she says that pulls me back into life, but just the fact that she'e there and she cares enough to call. And call. And call. And keep calling until I answer. Until we connect.
She and I have a history that goes back 10 years... more than that really. And she has always been the pursuer.
I have other relationships that only lived as long as I pursued. The thing is, I don't know if I could have had the emotional and spiritual strength needed to keep pursuing these relationships if Wendy hadn't been so persistently pursuing me. Her generosity of spirit and friendship sustained me, gave me what I needed to be generous with others.
I hope I bring something to our relationship that gives her the energy to keep moving forward in other relationships... truthfully, I just don't know. I just know that without her, and a few other friends I have like her, I'd probably be in some padded room right now. Her pursuit of me, her relentless friendship was my lifeline this last year, and continues to be.
I have no doubt in my mind God has a "Wendy" out there for you... someone who's friendship will provide the lifeline you need, and who's generosity will give you the strength and encouragement you need to pour out into others. Who that is, where they are, how that friendship will look, I have no idea.... But I know it's true.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.... Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! -- 2 Cor. 9:6-8,10-15