I need people. Not that I want to be that needy friend that takes up all your time, but I need other humans in my life. I could never be the reclusive, crazy cat lady. Well, also because I hate cats. They’re sneaky and antisocial and poke you with needle like weapons that shoot from their paws. I’ll pass. I moved to this house in March, 1400 miles from my tribe. I broke before I was even halfway through the trip.
I have always been outgoing, an over communicator if you will. I tell too much about myself and am known to be an open book. This is been lauded as brave, for being willing to tell my story. I am learning that it’s a coping mechanism for controlling my level of vulnerability. It’s like coming clean when you know you’re about to get caught. It’s like quitting before you get fired. I’m telling you up front, putting it all on the table so that you can run before the relationship moves forward. My brand of crazy isn’t for everyone. It’s better to know up front because what I’ve learned, is that people just want to feel like they belong, somewhere.
We decided to downsize when we moved for simplicity’s sake. My husband and I had a conversation that no matter what, we would have an open door policy. If we were crowded and sitting on floors, our house would be filled with people. We would use it for bible studies and church groups, birthday parties and playdates for the boys, barbecues and cook outs. It would be a safe place for people to land. A welcoming place for anyone that needed love. Because isn’t that what our houses are for?
The bible says Christians should be set apart by their LOVE. Unfortunately that is simply not the case. We judge to make ourselves feel better and only accept the people into our lives that don’t push our comfort level. When we wanted to start a life group at our house in Texas, I literally said (out loud), “But what if I don’t like them? What if we don’t get along?” Just wow. Pretty sure that is not “love” that is setting me apart.
I left a large group of support when we moved. I had family, church friends, church acquaintances, work friends, friends from the school my children went to, and even what my Pastor refers to as 2am friends. Those are the roses among the thorns. Those are the ones that drive 45 minutes to hold your hand and let you cry in the middle of the night. The ones that are faithful until the end. The ones that help you hide the body. Ok, just kidding but if there was a body…. just sayin.
I got here and my life fell apart. Everything was perfect except the hole I was falling deeper into. I’m not meant to be without people. So I joined a bible study and a church and a support group for parents with children on the autism spectrum and tried to find a homeschool co-op for my oldest. Something was still missing. I took a girl home one night I barely knew from church. As she was sitting next to me, she casually mentioned she wanted to have a bible study but didn’t know where to do it. “DO IT AT MY HOUSE!” I blurted out. Wait, what??? I barely know you and I don’t know who would come?? What if I don’t even like them?? Nope…that’s not love. The co-op for my son fell through so I decided to start my own. 50 moms later (not including the kids), I had to close the group. I invited them all over for a swim party before school started. Hubs gave me the look…I’ve seen the “look” multiple times in the last 16 years. It’s the “what were you thinking” look. He asked, “Have you ever met these people? Do you know how many are coming?” Nope, sure didn’t. But it has been a beautiful experience.
Here is what I know. People parent differently, come from different backgrounds, have different morals and religions (or lack thereof), different baggage and trauma and grief. They deal with life differently and do things out of desperation and utter despair. People turn away from religion because of past hurts or experiences and turn to other things that fill the void. But you know what is the same? We all want to feel like we are welcomed, accepted, and loved.
We didn’t (only by sheer circumstance) down size when we moved. I think God had bigger plans for my mission to be that 2am friend. I look back and think maybe that’s why I have loved being a psych nurse for all those years. A lot of my patients (at the hospital I worked at the most) were homeless. They didn’t always smell the best, or have the most pleasant communicable diseases;) But they were all shocked when you would treat them with love. When you would hold their hand and listen to their story. We are all messy if you think about it. Some can just hide it better than others. Don’t we all just need to feel accepted? Just the way we are? I hope at my funeral, someone says I stood out because of the way I loved, for being a 2am friend. I have a long way to go, but it’s a goal worth trying for. Nobody cares if you can cook because everyone can attest that I can’t. No Pinterest inspired hors d’oeuvres at this house. I’m so classy I had to google how to spell that.And nobody cares if there are dishes in your sink, invite them over anyway. You’ll be glad you did.