It's that feeling... when you've just left church (or maybe you're even still there)... and everyone's smiling and saying "Hey! Good to see you!" Your heart is happy to be surrounded by Dear Ones... and your heart is sad. Your heart is thankful for all the things it should be thankful for, but you feel like sulking in the corner and pulling some middle school move to make people say, "What's wrong?!" You feel lonely in a crowded room. You feel invisible as everyone looks at you, but doesn't really Look At You.
Our lives can be filled with community, and somehow lack connection.
Our lives can be filled with love, and somehow lack relationship.
Our lives can be blessed beyond reason, and we can still feel like pouting in the corner.
Or maybe it's just me.
Here's what's weird, ladies... like, really, weird...
We are all sitting in our homes longing for a friend. For relationship. For a gal pal. For someone to pick up the phone. We're all thinking, "Gosh I really want to go beyond the surface. I want to be wanted, known, desired, seen, pursued." We're all saying "Heeeey" at church and wishing we could move past the small talk and move in to that beautiful heart place where we grieve and celebrate our genuine lives together. We all want each other.
So what's the hang up?
Every woman I've ever talked to feels like she wants more!
More care. More closeness. More unity. More visibility. More connection.
So why don't we have it? If we're all feeling this way, why does a day ever go by when we don't hear the words, "Hey, how are you?" from a voice that really means it, in a space that's suitable to really answering? Why do weeks pass without sitting down face to face with a sweet friend who can say "Me too. Yes. I hear you." How hard can it be? For the love!
Here's what I think happens....
There are Reachers... usually the extroverts... the ones who pick up the phone and call. The ones who don't like to be alone, so they reach out, and reach out, and reach out. They coordinate and invite and plan. They make Facebook events and keep up with what's going on around town. They make a lot of last minute calls to try to rope friends into their schemes... because they get life from being with you.
Then there are the Receivers... often the introverts. (If you are a Receiver, you probably don't want to admit it... but I see you! You'd rather others do the reaching for you. Fess up.) The Receivers are happy at home alone (at least happier than the Reachers) so they don't pick up the phone. They don't call. They stay quiet. They putter. They wall themselves up. They're so glad that there are Reachers in this world, because it's not that they don't want to see you... it's just that they don't think about it until it's too late. They get wrapped up in their stuff and they don't reach... because they get life from being with you, but they also get exhausted from being with you. So it's a toss up.
But the Reachers get tired of reaching. They want to be receivers for a while... so they stop. They go into their holes and wait. They're testing you. Will you return their love? But no one calls... because the Receivers don't reach. It's not in their DNA. So the Reachers get sad. And the Receivers get lonely too, but this makes them withdraw even more... and then everyone is drifting apart like particles in the universe...
We can fix this. We can't fix everything... world peace is still distant. Poverty is kind of huge. We can't fix everything, but we can fix this. We can. We can make everyone feel seen and heard. We can solve loneliness. We can eradicate one of the great wounds of the human condition.
Reachers... you need to get intentional about your reaching. Strategize. Don't wear yourself out. Don't reach in a million different directions. And when you start to feel worn thin, don't retreat. There is middle ground between reaching and retreating. I'm not sure what it's called... maybe "rest"? Stay there for a bit. Remember that you are loved, and just recuperate your strength. Don't, whatever you do, don't let yourself get lonely and convince yourself that you're unloved. Or, worse, unlovable. If you go there, no one will be able to find you and bring you back.
Receivers... you need to make space in yourself to reach. Not all the time. But, pick someone. Pick one day a week. Pick up the phone. If you don't know what to say, ask what the person is making for dinner. Anything. Don't do it for yourself, do it for them. Pick a reacher and reach back. I promise they will reward you richly for the love you share.
That's all... I just feel like we can do this, ladies. I feel like we can heal hurting hearts with simple human connection. It's how God designed us to function. Let's get after it!