Man, I have been going through it. Just learning more deeply about people and about myself in relation to the world around me. Some good lessons, some painful. All of it worth the hassle because of today.
A dear friend texted me to see if I had time to chat this afternoon. She is one of those people with whom I can go years without speaking or seeing, but we pick up right where we left off and we have learned to cover a lot of ground in thirty stolen minutes in the midst of our busy. Throughout our pouring out of words and hearts, I was reminded over and over again that this season of loneliness and lack of friendship has carved this well of gratitude in the deeper recesses of my heart.
I am more grateful for the friends I still have in far-flung places. More grateful for the depths of their souls and that they choose to share that depth with me. More grateful for the way they live their own wild lives with such dignity and respect for the imago Dei residing in us all. More grateful for how they process my words and speak truth to my weary, happy heart. More grateful for the love and goodness of the Lord that I see evident in their lives.
I am naturally a stubborn ass. I need hard lessons and tough love and loud truth for me to understand and accept things. I rarely take anything (or anyone, for that matter) at face value. I question everything, not out of cynicism, but out of curiosity and an expectation of honesty from the world around me. I reside in the uncomfortable belief that because I demand kindness and vulnerability without motive from myself that others are doing the same. They are not, I know. I am a hopeless hopeful just the same.
As much as I hate to admit it, I needed these last three and a half years of loneliness. I needed these years because I had gotten complacent about my tribe. I loved my people, but I did not acknowledge all that they meant to me. Now I cherish those incredible memories and any moments I get to have in the present. I am so grateful for the people who have lifted me up over the years and heard my stories and been vulnerable over countless cups of coffee sunk deep in couches in lamp-lit rooms as we pondered life and faith and love. I did not fathom then what a gift that was, nor realize that it was a gift I would not always possess. In time, I suppose. Surely there must be a fellow adventurer looking for real words over stained coffee cups in this vast state. In the meantime, for now, I am more grateful than I was yesterday, and tomorrow will be even more grateful still. This stubborn ass has learned a valuable lesson in the power of friendship and how to be grateful in all things. Thanks be to a good God Who does not give up on me. Amen.