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The Glue That Binds

It doesn’t fail — the month I have a goal to do something is the month that I seem to struggle in that specific thing!

Relationship: In order to build a closer relationship with ladies that strengthen me, I will start up a Book Club and plan four activities by June 30, 2019. (Book: The Gift of Friendship edited by Dawn Camp). Proverbs 18:24 

On Dallas Street, where I grew up, there were eight girls, and eleven boys. I gravitated to hanging out with the “big sisters” and so it was that the two girls I considered my best friends got married when I was 8 — I got to be the server at their receptions.

Through junior high and high school, I feel like most of my friendships were short lived. I would do a lot with a group for a few months, and then off to another group. I didn’t hang out in any specific hall in the mornings, but walked around and made conversation with many people. Knowing many people and feeling connected to people are two very different things.

If I’m openly honest, I never felt really close or connected to people. Most of the time I felt like there was the real me, and some kind of invisible umbrella that didn’t let things get in or out for real. The relationships I had were slightly superficial – not for lack of trying. There was just something . . .

A really long story short, I was diagnosed with Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder when I was 22. I read up on my diagnosis — causes, symptoms, ways to help. I took classes that gave me more information and helped me learn how to handle life better. In doing research, suddenly things started to make sense. Things like why I knew how many dashed lines there were in the road from my house to my parent’s house, why I vacuumed three or four times a day, why I struggled to get thoughts out of my head. And, why it was so hard to feel connected to other people.

In order to poke holes that are large enough for me to reach through the invisible barrier I sensed, it takes a lot of effort on my part. Feeling really connected to another person is not something I take lightly. There are still seasons where I fall into bad cycles of depression (like last month) where it is both physically and emotionally harder for me to reach out.

Here is where my amazing tribe steps up!

We have been through a lot together, these people I call my own. In the past year, I have laughed so hard I cried, and cried so hard I laughed. We have faced the passing on of loved ones, new babies, adoptions, changed jobs, addictions, health issues. We have discussed marriages, the struggles and joys of raising kids, and “Plan B” (as well as Plans C, D, E and F). They text me thoughts, we message prayers, they convince me to come to lunch or on a small adventure. Not once have they suggested I am lacking, or not enough. They simply love me where I am.

The barrier feels thinner now. I’m taking the steps I need to recover — intentionally eating better, getting enough sleep, saying no, writing. I feel encouraged and uplifted. I’m strong enough to start giving back again. Friendship is not balancing favors — it’s gluing the broken pieces of each of us into something bigger than we are. John Donne had it right:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

In celebration of those who sustain you, please drop me a line about your friends. How do you lift and support each other? Or a favorite memory. Or a poem, quote, thought about friendship.

2 thoughts on “The Glue That Binds”

  • “No man in an island
    No one walks this way alone
    That which we pass into the lives of others
    Comes back into our own”

    ********

    That Woman is a Success…
    (Barbara J. Burrows)

    Who loves life
    and live it to the fullest;
    who has discovered and shared
    the strengths and talents
    that are uniquely her own;
    who puts her best into each task
    and leaves each situation
    better than she found it;
    who seeks and finds
    that which is beautiful in all people…
    and all things;
    whose heart is full of love
    and warm with compassion;
    who has found joy in living
    and peace within herself.

    *********

    Our Deepest Fear

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
    It is our light, not our darkness
    That most frightens us.

    We ask ourselves
    Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
    Actually, who are you not to be?
    You are a child of God.

    Your playing small
    Does not serve the world.
    There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
    So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

    We are all meant to shine,
    As children do.
    We were born to make manifest
    The glory of God that is within us.

    It’s not just in some of us;
    It’s in everyone.

    And as we let our own light shine,
    We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
    As we’re liberated from our own fear,
    Our presence automatically liberates others.

    from Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love.

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