I haven't blogged in a long while about what's been going on (or not going on) in my life. I have a year and a half of things that I haven't written a single post about. To be quite honest, I'm not really sure that I want to write about them-- any of them. It's not that I don't want y'all to know what's been going on, or to share any of my adventures and struggles with you. It's more that I don't want to think about them myself. It's easier to just ignore them, and let the past be the past, and figure out a way to just start over here and now.
Except it's not really easier to do that, is it? I mean, you can't just leave your behind in the past, as Pumba says. It doesn't work. It might make things seem easier in the short run, but in the long run? You have to deal with things, or you don't ever get better. I've been very consciously not thinking about even the good things in the past eighteen months, because even those are too sad for me to look at closely. I haven't emailed friends, because I don't want to think about how much I miss them. Because I don't want to talk about how I feel like there is nothing good going on in my life right now. Because I don't want to admit how bad things really are, inside.
All that ignore is not making things better. I'm not sure that's it making them worse, but it sure isn't helping anything.
I was talking with my one friend with whom I spend time on a more-or-less regular basis, and she's a bit of a busy-body by her own admission, always trying to fix things for people. She's had a pretty rough year herself, and we were commiserating over things. I had no words of wisdom for her, but just a listening ear and sympathy for the struggle. For me, she had a suggestion: write. About the feeling of dislocation I'm suffering, about the struggle with being where I don't want to be (in more ways than one), about feeling lost and empty and unproductive and all the things I'm struggling. But to write about the past year and a half, good and bad. To tell my story, because to do that I have to face it and (perhaps) work though it. At least deal with the fact that it exists.
I'm not at all happy about this suggestion. Obviously. Because I don't want to talk about it. Okay?
I know, I know. I hear you. It's not okay. I get it. I'll try.
For a start, I'm writing this post. Laying it out there, why I haven't kept in touch or blogged. It's hard for me to admit that I'm struggling, because I don't want to burden people with my troubles. I (stupidly) feel like I should be able to deal with my own problems. I say stupidly because I know darn well that we are called to carry each other's burdens, and that is part of what friends are for. I expect others to let me help with their burdens (as well as their joys, to be fair), but I'm quite often not willing to return that favour. I had a friend recently who very pointedly said to me, 'I hope you wouldn't rob your friends of a chance to bless you,' in response to a discussion of homeless and hungry Americans (I said I would be both of those if it weren't for staying with family). Oh, if only it were so easy for me to see it that way!
I struggle with that, though. Am I the only one? Probably not. It seems like a very American mindset, the 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps' and be all self-sufficient. It is not, however, a very Christian one. I'm working on that. I'm not even sure I want to post this, because it's a bit too raw and honest. I don't want people to think less of me.
Seriously? Yes. Even though I know full well that y'all, who are my friends, will not think less of me for being honest, or for struggling. Still I worry. And keep it inside, to myself. I know that doesn't make sense; I know that I am holding myself to an impossible double-standard, and am acting in ways that I would not want my friends to act if they were having hard times of any sort. So please forgive me, friends, for behaving in ways that actually deny your friendship. I don't mean to do that; I am thankful for you, I really am. It's myself I am fighting with, and I don't know if I'll win this one. But I will try-- to write, as my friend suggests; to be more honest about, well, everything; to give you the opportunity to be my friends in the same ways that I want to be your friends-- and to let you, if you're willing, to help me carry my burdens, and give you the opportunity to bless me. Because, honestly, I know that works both ways. I just forget sometimes.