10.19.2012

write me a letter: part two

This is the first time I've written a follow up to one of my previous posts.  I got some great feedback from a friend about part one (write me a letter), and of course I've been thinking about it a lot, so I thought I'd write a "part two" on the subject.

I live in a place where it's not unusual for families to have lived in the same town for many generations.  Lots of people have lived here their whole lives and the people they are friends with now are the same people they went to high school with.  I wonder what it's like to have friends like that.  How can people know each other for so long, and make through high school no less, and still be on friendly talking terms with each other?

I'm a big fan of having consistency and familiarity in my life.  I'm also very open to experiencing new things, but I still desire some sort of stability.  I guess I look for that dependability in my friendships and relationships with others, which might not always be the best place to look for such things.

Here is what my friend had to say on the subject:

"I feel like as we grow and learn who we are, we do grow apart from people. As much as I don't like change. Sometimes you have to adjust to the change because it is what it is. I am sure it is a shame to have the perspective to be buddies until our dying day. Sometimes our views change or we hang out with different people which initiates more interest, but God knows that we all will have that connection when we're in heaven with him. No second guessing, pining, emotional attachment, doubt."

"All I can say from my few experiences, I still have a friend to talk to whether they are temporary or permanent. They are here and are with me and I can confide in them."

"It's better than having no friends or no connection."

Temporary friends v.s. permanent friends.  I had never really thought about it like that.  I don't talk to everyone I know every day, but there are occasions when I become closer to a certain friend for a short period of time and it's really lovely.  We might not keep up a consistent correspondence for a long period of time, but the closeness we had is still appreciated.  Instead of wishing we were closer for longer I suppose I should be thankful for what we have.

So many people drift in and out of our lives.  That's just the way it works.  The people I was friends with back in Texas, I'm not as close with them anymore but I am thankful for the time we did spend as close friends, as I am with everyone I've been close to.  People move away, grow up, and change.  The ones who live in the same town all their lives, perhaps the reason they're friends with the same people for all that time has more to do with convenience than anything else.

If people move away, grow up, and change, then how do you know what's going on in their lives and why you're not as close as you used to be?  Coincidentally, "When Friends Go Off The Grid" was published at the same time I was pondering this subject.

Why does someone stop keeping in touch?  Are they growing apart from you?  Have you offended them without realizing it?  Are they dealing with a serious personal matter and are seeking space or pushing everyone away?  Like the author of "When Friends Go Off The Grid", I'm never sure what I should do in that situation.  Do I contact them?  Do I give them space?

In one such situation it was a combination of me unknowingly offending my friend and her dealing with serious personal matters.  We didn't talk for a year, but she reached out to me when I was going through a rough time in my life and we started putting our friendship back together.  Now we're even closer than we were before.  Over the summer I saw a couple friends I hadn't seen in six years and it was like no time had passed at all.

Some friendships stand the test of time and some don't.  Whether we are "friends forever" or for only a short time, I think it's more important to be thankful for whatever friendships we have instead of wanting more.  It's better to have a few close friends than no friends at all.


10.10.2012

the relationship status

Out of all the bewildering craziness that makes up the world of Facebook perhaps the most mysterious component of all is the relationship status.  Why is it mysterious?  Let's think about this for a bit.

There is a lot of information you can share on Facebook.  Sometimes too much.  From you favorite quotes to your favorite bands to what you ate for breakfast, you can freely post it for the entire world (or just your friends and family) to see.  Sometimes you see things you wish you hadn't seen.  I know sometimes I see more swear words on my newsfeed than I'd like to, but I'm getting off topic now.

On your personal profile you can list where you went to school, where you grew up, where you work, who your family members are, and who you're in a relationship with.  Or who you're not in a relationship with.  Wait, what?

I'm sure you've seen it before.  Junior high and high school kids play around and say they're in a relationship with their "BFF" or even go as far as listing themselves as "married" or "engaged".  Silly kids.  If only they knew what that really means.

And then there are the kids (or even adults) who are in a different relationship every month, so their relationship status changes every month.  Umm, if the relationship ended after only a month then maybe it wasn't serious enough to put on Facebook in the first place.

Which brings us around to the question, "Do I really have to put my relationship status on Facebook?"  I have heard many different opinions on this topic and my own opinion has changed over the past year.

Some people just don't care.  They don't take Facebook that seriously and could be in a committed relationship for three years before they list it on their profile.

Others think it's too personal and don't put up anything about it until they're engaged or married.

I've heard the opinion that someone wanted to be honest about their relationship status which is why they kept it up even when it changed from being "in a relationship" to "single".  They didn't want people to think they were hiding what happened.  They wanted to be honest.

I can't help but wonder if some people list their relationship status as a way to get attention.  I mean, let's face it, all of us on Facebook want attention every time we post something, and nothing gets attention like relationship news.  When a couple starts dating or breaks up the comments and messages fly faster than... well, faster than something that flies very fast.

What is my opinion about the relationship status on Facebook?  When I first joined Facebook five years ago (Yikes!  Has it really been that long?) I had my relationship status listed.  It's been listed ever since then until earlier this year.  What changed?  Well, I've been in some relationships.  I've been through the excitement of starting something new and the sadness of that special something ending.  I have received comments and messages of congratulations and condolences for the respective events.  Finally though I was tired of it.  I felt like the entire world of Facebook had a front row seat to watch me go down in flames.  It's hard enough dealing with a relationship ending in real life without having reminders of it burned into cyberspace.

I think it's been since February that I took my relationship status off my profile and I like not having it on there.  Don't worry, world of Facebook, I haven't been in any relationships since then so you haven't been missing out on anything.  In fact, I've decided to take a break from relationships until at least the end of the year, and this time I'm really going to follow through with it and not break my own rules.  You hear that, guys?  Don't try anything.  I am unavailable right now.

Will I list my relationship status again in the future?  Yes, I imagine so.  Someday when I'm engaged or married I'll put it up there again.  But for now I will remain full of mystery, just like the relationship status itself.  Is she dating anyone?  Is she single?  The world may never know.  :)


10.07.2012

He said my name

I went to church last night rather than this morning.  My parents are out of town and it's easier for me to go to Saturday evening service instead of dragging myself out of bed early enough Sunday morning to complete barn chores and then shower and get ready so I don't still smell like the barn when I get to church.

Anyways, Saturday service is a little different than Sunday service.  Generally there are less people at the Saturday service (although the festivities in town this weekend probably helped with that) and less people means the singing is a little quieter.  Those are really the two main differences I see between the Saturday evening and Sunday morning church services.

So there I sat in a pew all by myself, quietly following the order of service and singing the hymns.  Sometimes I sing really loud and sometimes I don't.  Depends on if I know the hymn well and if my head is stuffed up.  It feels a little weird sometimes when I go to church by myself.  Sometimes I feel like a stranger in my own church.  But I'm not a terribly sociable person, so I don't really mill around after service and talk to people.  I pretty much just keep to myself.

I wasn't singing very loud last night and I was having a hard time paying attention to the service.  My brain has been very full and confused lately while I've been trying to figure out a lot of things in my life.  I went up to the altar when it came time for communion and my brain was still swirling like it had been all day.  When Pastor Fritsche came to me with the common cup he said,

"Laura, take and drink, the blood of Christ, shed for you."

The fact that he said my name took me off guard, in a good way.  I can't remember right now if Pastor Fritsche has said my name in the past during communion, and maybe your pastor says everybody's names all the time during communion so this doesn't seem like a big deal to you.  But last night in that brief moment when my pastor said those words and I drank from the cup, it was a big deal.  It wasn't just Pastor Fritsche saying my name, it was God saying my name through him.  The thoughts in my head stopped spinning and I was more attentive and at ease during the rest of the church service.

I haven't been feeling so great about myself lately.  It seems like I'm just wandering through life and barely keeping my head above the water.  I can't do anything right.  I couldn't complete a decent amount of college after high school.  My relationships keep failing.  I can't turn one of my genuine interests into a legitimate source of income.  Everything is up in the air and beyond my control.  Anxiety and doubt overwhelm me.  I don't know what I'm doing or where I'm going.  I long for purpose and direction.  I want to find where I'm supposed to fit in this world.

A couple days ago my good friend sent me a very happy and encouraging card complete with cute stickers.  She reminded me to smile, to wait on God's perfect timing, and that I am a beautiful and talented person.  She included this Bible verse:

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:13-14

How blessed I am to have a loving friend who reminds me of such wonderful things.

Last night when Pastor Fritsche said my name, it was like God whispered to me.  He told me, "Hey, it's ok.  I know you don't have this under control, and that is perfectly fine.  I got this.  Don't worry about it."  I shed thankful tears as I drove home last night, and because I'm a silly girl I've shed a few more while writing this.

I'm thankful to have family and friends who not only share my faith but they also love and encourage me when I need it the most.  I'm thankful for Pastor Fritsche and the many other pastors I know who continually show God's love to people, sometimes even when they don't realize it.  I'm thankful God is in control and He is ready and waiting to take over when I'm finally done stubbornly fighting Him.  I still don't quite know right now where I'm going in life, but I do know wherever I end up is where God wants me to be and that's what matters.


10.04.2012

write me a letter

Do you have a friend you would like to keep in touch with but they don't seem to share that desire?  You want to be in contact and know what's going on in their life but they don't really hold up their end of the deal.

One of my friends who goes to school out of state, I asked him to let me know the next time he's in the area so we could get together for lunch or something.  That was about nine months ago.  He has been home during that time but I haven't heard from him.

Another one of my friends, we'll get a good texting conversation going, but I always have to send the first message.  He never initiates the contact.

One of the girls I was friends with back in Texas, we were close and even wrote letters to each other when we were younger.  But since I moved away eight years ago we haven't been that close anymore.  I've tried to initiate contact in the past but she didn't really genuinely respond.

I will be the first to admit I'm not spectacular at staying in touch with people.  I send regular Facebook messages back and forth with a couple friends and my sister and I text and e-mail a lot. But I don't really like talking on the phone. When I'm on the phone with someone I generally want to get to whatever topic is the main point of the phone call and be done. I prefer talking to people face-to-face. Oftentimes I just don't think to stay in touch with people. If there is something they want to tell me, I assume they will contact me and tell me.  Sadly, I also do not always respond when people contact me or my response is not wholehearted and genuinely interested.  This usually happens when I'm busy and forget to respond or I don't take time to respond properly.  I get unhappy with myself when that happens.

I am thankful social networking websites make it so easy to keep in touch with the friends and family I have all over the country and even the world.  But I feel like we lose something meaningful somewhere between the likes, comments, and tweets.  We are not as sincere as we could be.  We communicate when it is most convenient for us rather than going out of our way to start a conversation.

What happened to phone calls out of the blue that lasted for three hours?  What happened to sending letters that went on for pages and pages? What happened to dinner dates that ended when the restaurant closed and visits that were longer than just a couple days?

Are we busy?  Do we grow apart?  Do we just not care as much as we used to?