Sunday, August 21, 2011
Loneliness is a place that I know well. It's the distance between us and the space inside ourselves. ~ Annie Lennox
It's a funny thing how once upon a time I was very shy and unsure of myself. Self-confidence wasn't something I possessed at any level, to any degree. I have written many times about my "epiphany" year of 1999 where my whole world imploded on me and I was face-to-face with a person I didn't know at all any more...myself. Somehow, somewhere, I'd lost the basic essence of me.
That's a very scary place to arrive at in a person's life. I was 45 years old. You would have thought I'd have it all together. But spiritually...emotionally...physically...mentally...I was scraping the bottom of the barrel so hard yet coming up empty. My doctor had told me if I didn't begin to change a lot of things in life I wouldn't be seeing too many more sunsets. That drew me up short and zapped me right between the eyes. I began to look and I began to see. And I sure wasn't very happy with what I found myself confronted with. A woman functioning on nothing but fumes. I had nothing left to give anyone. Which means I had even less for me.
Thus began a long and arduous climb out of the pits. I felt like I scraped and slithered back and forth for a while, one foot forward, two feet back. But I persevered and realized one day I'd made it. I no longer feel I'm a doormat. I no longer say 'yes' all the time even when I'm dying to say 'no'. I no longer despair if the whole world doesn't love me. Do I love everyone I come across? No. So if someone doesn't become my best friend five minutes after I meet them, I can let it go. I don't sit and worry and fret about what's wrong with me if they're not responding. Life is too short to be worried about other people's shortcomings.
Coming to a new part of the country to live, almost 2400 miles from everything I knew, everything familiar and dear to me, as we've settled into our new neighborhood I haven't sat back and waited for people to come to me. I've approached every single one of them myself. And I've shook hands and said, "Hi, I'm Kris from Portland, Oregon, and I wanted to say hello and tell you how much I love it here!" And do you know, I haven't had one negative response from any of them. If anything, I think they're thankful I've broken the ice. And nearly all of them have told me how hard it is to get to know the neighbors, tho everyone is basically friendly. We have one couple who live next door and everyone has told me how standoffish they are so I've made a special point of talking to the wife. She was out in the back yard the other day with her little twins and Dylan and Cooper were talking her ear off over the fence. I went over to them and told her, "I hope they're not bothering you!" and she said no, she loved it! She said after living there 6 years she'd never had anyone to talk with over the fence before and it was wonderful. So there you go. She's shy. Nothing else.
There's a scripture about how, if you want to have friends, you need to show yourself friendly. I never understood that before my epiphany year. It's one of life's most important lessons I've learned. I don't have to be lonely. I don't have to be homesick. All I have to do is be friendly. And it works just about every time.