I just had a great walk & talk with a friend. Starting at our house, walked a mile or so to Starbucks, then back again with frappuccino in hand. There is a comfort level there where I don't question if she still likes me after I say something stupid or if I reveal too much of my ugly past that she will cut and run. I've had this happen many times and I'm usually fearful of repeats so I don't open up. I've even had worse than just the cut and run happen, as I mentioned in my running post. And that has truly messed me up.
I grew up placing friends at greater importance than family. That may sound cruel, but my family history would explain a lot. I invested a lot in my friendships, usually more than I got back, but I was ill-equipped to really be an adequate friend while I was younger because I hadn't had good examples. My parents didn't have close friends and my siblings and I weren't really taught to be friends with each other. And while chaos was all around me - drugs, yelling, divorce, etc. - I was too immature to be there for friends while they were going through tough things. I would retreat and lose friendships. I was always friends with those who were okay with being surface-y, but not too deep. I often befriended those who moved to my town for a short time, then moved away again soon after. Those who didn't know where I came from. I look back and see so many missed opportunities - if I hadn't been so scared. I have reconnected with some, and I'm thankful for that, but I'll never get back those bonding moments that I just wasn't prepared for. There's one friendship that I don't have a second chance at because she was killed in a car accident my senior year. I started pulling away from her my junior year because I didn't trust her or her reasons for being my friend. It was my own insecurities that led to the demise of a great friendship. I couldn't have prevented her death, but I would have so many more memories of her if I hadn't mistrusted her. Despite all my efforts to isolate myself, I still managed to come away with best friends who I am so grateful for. They won't give up on me even if I tried to push them away. They are family to me.
Despite being wounded by my past and the actions of those I thought were friends, I am still taking risks with new friendships. I know I won't always be safe and I am much more guarded now than I used to be. I just need to find that balance again so I don't shut people out who are meant to enrich my life. The walk today was refreshing and I shared a little bit more about my life - and I didn't have that sick feeling afterwards where I worry about if she thinks of me differently or whether the friendship will fizzle. She is a true one, a safe one. Actually, I see a lot more of that in my life now. Maybe it's because I'm learning to be vulnerable. I can't say that it's because I'm becoming more comfortable with my past, because I know that's not true - I'm still working on that in counseling. It's funny, someone once told me (yelled at me, actually), that I needed to go to counseling. I was already in counseling at the time, but I've needed much more since then, thankyouverymuch. I don't know if I'll ever get this life thing down on my own.
Another thing I'm thankful for when it comes to my current friendship situation, especially with how it affects our girls, is our House Group from church. It's a diverse group of men and women, some single, some married, some older than us, some in the same place, some just starting out. They come over every Wednesday night and M and JJ get so excited. I love having our house filled with laughter and noise and I can tell that they do too. It's redeeming to now have a home that I feel safe in and that my friends can come over and share life with us. Because of this, I hope our daughters will grow up with a different perspective on friendship and how important it is.