friends, i love you.
How many times must I remind myself?
Again and again I forget. I fall into the pit of self-pity, thinking no one loves us, no one has time for us. I despise Shauna Niequist and her home team: I can’t think of a single soul I’d dare to bother in the middle of the night when I’m up, anxious and in tears. When I try to remember the last time a friend helped herself to a glass of water at our house, I suddenly feel all formal and discouraged that I can’t come up with anything.
We live on a wide, busy street next to a Walgreens; this isn’t any sort of neighborhood, really. Cups of sugar are not waiting to be lent. When I mentally run through our friends, I get stuck on this dang block, thinking, no one, no one, no one. They’re all so far away: Holland, Detroit, Chicago, East Coast, West Coast, way down south. Even the nearest ones drop out of my mind; I can’t overcome the ten minutes it takes to drive to their houses.
But THEN. (There’s always one of those. Why can’t I seem to remember?)
Twelve women show up at my sister’s house to circle up around me and celebrate the lively little babe who’s only two months away from entering this world. Some of the women drive for hours. Some linger for hours. I am overcome.
So. much. love.
As we talk, I realize that we’re all as lonely as the rest. We’re all suffering in our scattered cities, for a whole host of reasons. Heartache abounds. Exhaustion is rampant. And it’s only exacerbated by isolation.
Some of it, I see now, is self imposed. Why would I burden anyone with my own trials? They don’t care, I tell myself. They can’t do anything about it. They don’t want to.
But they do! They tell me so! They offer kindnesses I can’t believe, that practically knock the wind out of me. These women are generous.
And as I hear their hearts, I care. I want to do something about it, even if that just means listening and crying along with them. I kick myself for not asking sooner, for knowing and not checking in. I am embarrassed by my self-pity and self-absorption. How did I completely forget my home team? How did I neglect these friends, aching in their own ways, while I whined about how hurt and alone I was?
Oh, dear friends, forgive me. How deeply I love you. How precious you are to me. All of you, far-flung as you are, whether I saw you yesterday or not.
Please let’s draw near to each other, like chairs to a fireplace in winter. Let’s ask each other how we are doing, even when the question feels awkward. Let’s make a point to call or at least email. Text even. Let’s not lose touch. Let’s hold each other. Let’s go to each other’s houses when we’re about to snap and support the weight so nothing breaks. Let’s keep reminding each other that we’re not isolated, that this beautiful body—the body of Christ—is holding us up.
I love you.