It’s almost the end of summer and usually once or twice a day I feel overwhelmed with guilt that I haven’t had anyone over to our house.
You need to understand that I love to have celebrations and get togethers. I have cupboards full of party supplies, adorable chalkboard signs and lots of fun accessories guaranteed to help create a fun and cheery Pinterest-worthy gathering.
Those shelves have begun to collect dust.
Tinsel and banners stuffed away out of sight.
The party has been put away.
And I try to figure it out.
Why is friendship hard at this stage of life?
Why do I feel so alone?
I worry that it’s me, that somehow I don’t measure up anymore and it’s easy to go down that path of “not wanted,” so I refuse to park myself there. I know I have people in my life that I can go to, that care about and love me – and I them.
Then, I start thinking about this season of life. I remember sitting with friends a couple months ago after they had suffered a deep loss and we talked and cried and reflected about being in the middle. When we realize we are the adults. Like the real ones after all these years. Suddenly we are watching those who we have depended on for our whole lives grow older and needing our care, while we are still navigating life ourselves and caring for those who rely on us. It’s a strange tightrope that we try to balance on, and my friend made a comment that I’ve thought about time and time again.
“No one told us it was going to be like this.” he said.
And he was right. No one did. Maybe because no one can really put it into words. It’s like a walking loss, with things slipping away a little each day. In the meantime there’s work, and roles, and relationships, and family, and responsibility and all the things of life. And often we’re just left with a big chasm of guilt because we know that we can’t possibly do it all.
No wonder we hide away.
Some days all you can do is just stand in the gap and hold your breath.
So I think about parties, and friends and celebrations and maybe I just don’t feel like a party right now.
And that’s ok.
So I stop thinking about all the celebrations that I imagine are happening without me and I wonder if there’s just a bunch of us all sitting at home, a little worried about the future and fearful about the days to come. It could just be me. But maybe I’m not alone? And even though most days I just want to sit in my room and binge-watch Netflix, or hide away with my own little family, or sit out in my backyard and write – I need to do better. So, I’ve started to reach out because maybe it’s time for us all to make a better effort and come out of our hidden places and share life. Even when it feels safer and easier to be alone.
If you want to have friends, you need to be a friend.
As my momma would always say.
There’s no rules for friendship.
But I know we are meant for relationship.
It might not all be parties.
But neither is life.
And no one did tell us that it would be like this.
But we can decide that we need each other, that we can find joy no matter what we face and that we don’t need to walk alone.
Sounds like a good reason to have a get together.
Even just one.
Bless you ?
Unfortunately you have just wrote my feelings. Why is it this way at this stage of our lives. Hugs
I so wish we were closer. I could use a good chat and coffee ?
Thanks Sharon, I wish we were closer too. Thankful for God’s peace and joy in this journey! xo
Loved this reflective blog. It is a stage in life we all eventually experience. And being “the adult” can be overwhelming at times but it’s also rewarding as others come into our care. We share life experience knowledge or just simply apply the knowledge we’ve learned along the way…sometimes from those we now care for.
So true! And it is a honour to care for those who have taken care of us! Thanks Peggy!
Thanks for your blog Shelly. I feel the same way as you sometimes. That I make more effort to connect, then after a while kind of give up. Having moved a bunch over the years I have friends all over the place, but they often feel so far away.
But thanks for the encouragement to keep trying…to keep moving toward people rather than away from them…for introverts like us that’s easy to do 🙂
Thanks for your honesty.
Thanks Dan! It is hard to stay connected with people. I met up with TWO people today, so I feel like I’m off to a good start on this re-activating friendship goal! (and for sure harder for introverts like us!)
Bless you, thanks for your comment!
You’ve written much to encourage me personally. I’ve become so much of a home-body throughout the years.
When we do entertain in our home, I’m reminded of how much I truly love it! I guess I just need a “push” every once in a while.
Thank you for your wonderful words….you will encourage many people I’m sure!
Thanks Rebecca! I appreciate you reading, and I think sometimes we all need a little push! I sure do! xo
Thanks Shelly … how true the thoughts that you have expressed. I remember back in the days when my children were toddlers that I would get together with other women for a sharing/prayer time while the dad’s babysat and my friends and I would talk for hours. That is a thing of the past. Unfortunately our responsibilities and availability of media in it’s many formats has created more and more isolation amongst people. I long for authentic community but it’s very hard to find. People seem to always be on the run, or we get too tired to push ourselves into being hospitable, or we think it has to be so special that we don’t bother trying. Thanks for your thoughts to prompt us towards reaching out. Jesus had his 12 and I always remember that he had his 2 that were closer. I’m so thankful that I have my two “soul sisters” who I can depend on and who can depend on me. Blessings,
Oh Shelley , I love how you tap into my heart and feelings and put to words the struggles so many of us share. love you pouring out your soul like this. What treasures you have inside you. xo