Sunday was business as usual this week. We rolled out of bed and managed to have the whole family dressed and somewhat conscious in time for our regular 8:30 experience (that’s “service” for all of you non-Lifechurchers). The message was on community, doing life together, surrounding yourself with the right people, etc. Sounds great, in theory.
Something has been eating at me for a while now, and up until this point I have been able to push it aside. But there was a part of the message this week that focused on friends who’ll be with you “heart and soul”, through thick and thin, good times and bad. That did it.
I recently noticed I had lost a couple of friends from my twitter followers, friends that I had met in person several times, friends that had, perhaps unknowingly, played an integral part in improving my self confidence and making me feel like I not only belonged, but was actually wanted as a part of a great group of people. I asked another friend about it, and the explanation I got for their sudden disconnect was that I had become a Debbie Downer and had one too many negative tweets of late.
I was thankful for her honesty, but it hurt me to the core. If you know me at all, or even if you don’t, it takes all of five minutes to figure out that I am a happy person. I am never very serious, I see the humor in everything and I enjoy laughing and making other people laugh. It takes a lot to knock me low enough to let people see that I’m hurting.
But in the past year, my mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer and gone through all the necessary treatments it takes to beat it, on top of that she basically went blind for several months, our family lost two of the most incredible people I have ever been blessed to know, and we had a school year full of bullying, confrontation, and frustration.
It was just more than I could handle, and my “all happy all the time” facade came crumbling down. I guess that was enough to send people running in the other direction. I lost numerous friends in the process, and not just online.
Here’s the thing about me. When I finally reach a low enough point that I am willing to let you see my hurt, it also means that I am willing to let you in. It means I need your help, I need a shoulder to cry on, I need to know it’s okay to be real and that it won’t scare you away. But i’m supposed to be the entertainer, the one who cheers everyone else up. Thats what most people want me around for, and if I can’t be that person, they’d prefer I not be there at all. I don’t open up to people for that very reason.
There is a silver lining, though. There usually is if you look hard enough. In this case, now that I am settling back into my happy place, I am left with those friends who truly care about me. I know who I can be real with, I know who won’t go running when I let them see me cry or on those rare occasions when I get down and depressed about life in general. Those are the kinds of friends that will stick with you for a lifetime. They are also the ones you may take for granted unless life deals you some trials and reveals those people for the irreplaceable treasures they really are.
For that I am thankful. Not for having to go through the pain of this past year, but for what it has taught me, and the friends it has brought me closer to. And above all else, I hope that it has taught me to be that kind of friend when someone needs me, through thick and thin, high and low, “heart and soul”.