Finley turned four this week. My baby is four. How can that possibly be?! We had a series of small celebrations for him this week-each unique and yet not overly complicated, yet all very very sweet. The final celebration was the other night with a small group of his friends, their siblings and moms. It was a great night full of all the things an old-fashioned party at home should be: crepe paper streamers, balloons, cupcakes and kids running around. As I sat down the next morning with my coffee I realized the real gift of that night was really received by me.
After a tough 18 months of struggles, heavy burdens and more than our share of emergencies, I welcomed my friends back into my home. Now that I have a bit of perspective I can say that this past season has been grueling. I am not so foolish to assume that we are somehow in the clear, history has certainly proven me wrong on this account time and again. But there is a levity that has been missing that is sweeping through the house like a breath of fresh air.
Of the many lessons learned lately I can share this: I am a hard person to be friends with. I know this to be true yet am often baffled by this as well. I can appear cold, rigid, unapproachable yet that is not who I really am. Throw in a life that is crazier than most, more complicated than most, more trying than most and people just don't know what to do with me. Add on to that the fact that I handle all of this rather well. I have good perspective, I don't rattle easily and I am, if nothing else, very capable.
My ability to handle life's stresses has often times been the very reason I end up isolated. When others face a crisis, their overwhelming need demands that others jump in. I now have learned that when I have a crisis most sit back and watch. I make sure things get done, handled with grace, tact, grit... whatever is necessary. A busy life becomes busier, more complicated and every challenge is met. However I move too fast or get too busy and no one recognizes that even though I am very CAPABLE I still would love to have the company of friends along side me. I build walls with my capability and make it almost impossible to get through.
Thankfully I have learned that if I created the walls I also need to show people how to enter. Boy that was a tough one. I have been reaching out, creating/reviving relationships that matter and my goodness what a difference it has made.
Holding people at arms length makes it really hard to get a hug.
The other night my house was full of friends, old and new, women, who though we may look on the surface to be pretty similar, actually are quite diverse. We learn a lot from each other, encourage each other and I am so thankful. We have made a pact to celebrate together and with that we lift each other up. With each vulnerability we make known we are offered another chance to encourage, to pray to support, to show up.
Imagine if I didn't show them how to enter in again?
Self awareness is something that is sometimes hard won. I am thankful for the tough lessons of this past season. Thankful for being capable, as life has certainly demanded nothing less. But also thankful for opening a door and having friendship waiting on the other side. That is certainly joy-giving and something worth celebrating, everyday.