Friday, April 22, 2016

Unite? I'd Love To!

I'm very excited to again this week (after quite an absence on my part) to join a talented group of women bloggers in an online, unedited flash mob free write. This week, the word-prompt given to us by our fearless leader Kate Motaung (whose wonderful blog can be found at katemotaung.com) is "unite". My timer is set for 5 minutes; ready, set,

I have really missed participating in the 5 Minute Friday weekly writes so I was really looking forward to participating today. Until I saw the word. Unite.

Do I write honestly? From the heart? Or do I fake it and compose a post that doesn't at all represent what this word brings to mind?

I'm going with the honest, from-the-heart post. Warning: You may want to stop reading right now. This post may contain some (well, maybe more than that) whining, griping, and complaining.

To be united to something, I believe, a person has to have some sort of meaningful connection. Oh how I long to be united -- connected in a significant way -- to other people who share my interests and with whom I could spend time, go out to eat, talk about writing or books or life.

In fact, my greatest sorrow -- what causes me the most pain -- is that, other than my connection with my son and daughter, I'm not united with anyone or any group in any real, tangible way.

At work, my colleagues and I are either in the classroom or in our offices (meeting with students, grading papers, or preparing for class) or attending this or that meeting. I occasionally go out for a quick lunch or tea/coffee with one of two ladies I teach with, but other than that -- nada. They live in various parts of the city, spread out and busy with their own families and friends, and even when I lived just across the river, my female colleagues and I gathered outside work only one evening every month or two.

I attend church, but because of my current work schedule, I can't attend a small group. I walk into our large sanctuary every weekend, alone, past families and groups of people I don't know, groups busy chatting and laughing. I sit alone, I worship alone, I leave alone.

Don't get me wrong. I have acquaintances. But they're busy with their jobs, husbands, children, grandchildren. All of the connections I had -- the friendships I had -- faded away with my own personal "perfect storm" -- a move 50 minutes away from "home" just as my youngest began her Junior year in high school (hard to make new friends in a rural area when I was commuting elsewhere to work), 2 job changes in 10 years, connections to parents through our son's sports activities evaporated when he left for college, my husband's passing, my move to the city -- 2 hours away from home.

I've sought connections with other writers. No luck. I've attended conferences and met some fantastic ladies ------ from North Carolina and South Caroline and . . . well, 1/2-way across the country.

Oh, I've made new acquaintances. But every person I've met or who I've reconnected with is busy . . busy with their already-friends, their husbands and children and grandchildren, their lives.

United? Connected? I'd love to be. I'm not.

6 comments:

  1. i understand that feeling patti. i don't connect well online either. i make friends but not really deep friendships. i need to make them IRL. i think i'm old fashioned that way.

    we have moved a little too often. we moved, get closely attached to a church or group. then have to move for whatever reason. it isn't easy. after awhile it all feels pretty numb. we moved here about 3 years ago and about the time i started settling in, ron had his stroke.

    one thing i have learned to do over the years is take responsibility for my friendships rather than expecting others to do it...b/c they don't feel the need for friendship like i do, or they are shy or they are just as lonely if not more so...and the list goes on!

    i tend to sit in one area if i'm in a large church. i especially look around for lonely people, especially if i know the ropes. i look around for people who seem to know their way around if i don't. i ask questions. finding a group of single ladies often opens up an interesting group of great women to go to lunch with after church. you may find others who are in a similar situation as you...grown children, widowed or divorced, starting over again or not long ago.

    if the area where you normally sit has not turned up familiar faces, change where you sit. you may find some other people to sit near that you enjoy as time goes by. yes, it is uncomfortable to take the initiative, but it often turns up some treasured friends.

    I also would not limit myself to only single friends. get to know families too. as you sit near them, you will find yourself getting to know them in time as long as you don't get upset with them for squirming during church. i find that commenting on the joy of their presence is an encouragement to parents:) introducing yourself and asking their names, asking the kids about books they are reading (since that is one of your interests) could be a way of finding common ground.

    yes, it is more difficult as a single or when you can't be in a small group, but it isn't impossible. praying for GOD to help make connections helps too. most of all, i've found looking for others who seem lonely has been the most helpful to me when i know the feeling and can encourage another person or two...and make a friendship in an unlikely place.

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  2. Thank you for your honesty Patti. Bless you for being real. Praying that this season of alone-ness will pass and give way to a spring and summer of connected-ness and deep friendships. No experience is wasted with God. You are loved.

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  3. Oh friend :( I totally get alone for many reasons. While I enjoyed the FFW conference, there was one point on Friday when I was standing among the crowd, alone. Feeling lonely. The airbnb home I stayed in was great, but everyone kind of did their own thing and I was alone. Going to a large church and not being able to go to your small group has to contribute to the loneliness too. Make your way up to KC sometime, I promise you won't be alone, lol. Parked at 36 this week

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  4. Martha,
    First of all, I am so sorry to hear that your husband had a stroke! I think I knew that (maybe?), but I have so much trouble keeping track of who and what -- I am actually thinking of creating some sort of spreadsheet!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your insights and to offer those wonderful suggestions. I've jotted them in my planner and am going to sit in a different area this week. I'll let you know how it goes. :)

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  5. Thank you, Mandy, for your kind words and your prayers. I know -- without a doubt -- that God's plan is a good one. I'm praying that I will hear His voice and discern what He wants me to do.

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  6. Christy,
    Thank you for understanding. Isn't it amazing how often loneliness is much sharper and stronger when we're with others? I'd love to head your way and meet you in person -- if not this summer, when I'm on sabbatical. :)

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