The Ones That Stick With You

(Totally unrelated photo, I just needed something to get my mind off this heat)

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”.

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10 Responses to The Ones That Stick With You

  1. Kimmie says:

    I could seriously sign my name to this post because I’ve gone through the exact same thing numerous times over my 30 years. It hurts. A lot. But like you said it also shows you who’s in it “ride or die” as I like to say. I’m so happy I’ve found a “ride or die” friend in you and I hope you’ve found the same in me. I love you.

  2. Kimmie says:

    I’ll try this one more time…..

    I could seriously sign my name to this post because I’ve gone through this exact same thing several times in my 30 years. It hurts. A lot. And it’s a major reason why getting me to even attempt to go beyond the surface with most people is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, virtually impossible. But also like you said, it gives you the opportunity to see those “ride or die”, as I like to call them, people that are in your life. I’m so thankful that I’ve found a “ride or die” friend in you and I hope you’ve found the same in me. I heart you.

  3. Julsey says:

    Yup…me too. Been feeling that way all weekend. But those who are with you “heart and soul”, came through loud and clear yesterday. thank you for being in the bunch. I do love you heart and soul….

    • Anya says:

      I guess knowing who’s real and who isn’t is worth a little bit of pain. You’re the real deal! Love you lots miss julie!

  4. kelli says:

    I wrote at least two pages in my journal about this very subject after the experience yesterday. I realized in a little more than 4 years I had: dealt with grandparents’ dementia/alzheimer problems, moved them into a nursing home (with the help of a cousin and a wonderful step-mom!), dealt with all their life’s treasures including selling all their property and going through the contents, planned my wedding for 250 guests, had two different bosses, got pregnant, bought a house and changed residences for the 2nd time in 4 years, moved in, gave birth, survived a mean bought of PPD (or am surviving), lost my grandpa, lost my auntie, lost my daddy, lost my job, got a new job and all the while trying to maintain a marriage, maintain friends (that most have left me because they don’t see the hurt), maintain a job and maintain my sanity while being a great mother to my beautiful baby boy! I can only do so much. Thank GOD he is bigger than all of my problems because I sure couldn’t do this by myself….. But the experience reminded me that not only is God aware of what all I have gone through, I still need friends that will be with me through it all. I miss that and them…. — Love you.

  5. tara says:

    I can totally relate to this, Anya! I too have had a rough past few years and some friends have…I would not say left…but show up when things are good and “disappear” when things get bad again. I have learned; however, that friends do not have to be there all the time nor do you have to see them to know they are there…for example…I have not seen you in forever! Like, 5 minutes at Mulhall Day Celebration in May…but I feel that you are a good true friend to me…because I know I could call you in a heartbeat and you would be there….you will NEVER know how much the comments, statuses, and messages you sent me throughout the past year helped me get through everything. I love you Anya Jo…and I hope you know that I am “here…” (yes, 360 miles away..but hey? I’m right here emotionally)

  6. Marriya says:

    WOW! I love how you can things into words that anyone can understand! I too came out of our experience knowing that my “handful” of friends that I have left after my horrendous year in 2007, are my “heart & soul” friends! I am grateful for my long time friends like you, who can with 1 hug, make my day better! Love ya friend!

  7. Silver lining aside, I am sorry you have had to go through this! I am just getting to know you, but I think you are a great person. And hearing what you have been through this past year I think you were perfectly entitled to have a Debbie Downer phase.

  8. Alicia says:

    First, I didn’t know you were a “Lifechurcher”, we are too! The message last Sunday struck home with both me and my husband and we attended the Lifegroup Connection that evening and found a group that will be starting soon.

    I agree with Laura, with what you’ve been through, you’ve earned the right to be a little down sometimes! I lost a few followers the other day when I changed my user name on Twitter. Just laughed it off!

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