Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"I Don't Want Friends"

I have just been through one of the most difficult times of my life. That’s not really true – there were no guns involved and no one died and I was not left hungry and alone. So perhaps it wasn’t one of the most difficult times but it was a very, very hard time. A time of facing fear. A time when I found myself in a place I had been before and wanted to run except my running days are in the past, and perhaps in the future (certainly, I shall run and dance in heaven – but for now, I’m only talking about earth) – running in the present isn’t an option. I can’t breathe well enough and haven’t the energy – and it would hurt, a lot. So instead of running, I remained still and did what I knew I must do, I asked for help. And my friends came. And they helped. They lifted me up and carried me to a place where I could rest my head (and that’s very important because I am recovering from a nasty bout of the flu).

Help came from friends I’ve known for years and from those I’ve only known through the internet but have not yet met face to face. People came to my home and refused to let me work, made me sit in my comfy leather chair and rest while they danced about me and made my annual Epiphany party a joy, an occasion of laughter and fun. And when I was too tired to sit up any longer, they sent me to bed and cleaned and left a huge amount of cake in my refrigerator and even took out the garbage. Friends ensured that I would be able to pay my rent and utility bills and buy medicine and eat and have a cushion while I wait for my long term disability cheques to begin. Friends did not leave me alone but came to be with me and my suffering wasn’t worth a moment’s attention because I was too busy being grateful and delighted and having my stony heart broken into a million glittering pieces; I think they made it a more the kind of heart that pumps love into the Body of Christ because friends have been pumping so much love into me. I have no family but I am very, very fortunate because I have such dear, dear friends.

My roommate is moving out at the end of this month. I’ve only known her since November but in that time she too has become very, very dear to me. She has been my friend, become part of the dance that has woven it’s way around and through my life and cared for me when I was unable to care for myself. She has laughed at me and my love of butter, laughed when I knew she was giving me a mushroom sautéed in margarine, laughed at the funny expressions on my face and the childish delight I have been unable to hide. We’ve shared secrets and discoveries and she bakes a mean apple pie. Already I miss her and I will miss her more than any other roommate I’ve ever had. She is a younger sister I never knew I needed or wanted. She is like my friends’ two month old baby son, they can’t imagine life without him. She has come into my life and my home, into the lives of my friends, and I and they are richer because of her. We all desire to welcome her into our lives, to create space for her and her friends, to throw our arms around her and love her.

But she does not want friends. She has actually told me that. She is very young and her youth is evidenced by that one fact: she does not want friends. She tells me I have wonderful friends, amazing friends, she has befriended me herself, but she does not want friends. She desires to make a separate place for herself where she will be alone with the painful secrets of her life and no one will know her. So while telling herself that we will still be friends, she engages in a headlong rush to double her rent and deprive herself of friendship at a time when she cannot afford to spend so much money, to lose any love.

And all I can do is weep for her, let my heart ache because friendship is more valuable than she knows and I haven’t the words to convince her of that. My loss is immense, made larger by knowing how huge a loss she is imposing upon herself. I have not always valued friendship as I should, though I have been granted the grace, thus far, of not walking away from what I knew at the time to be the gift of friendship. I want more for her. My friends want more for her. We know she was made for more. She wants less. Please keep her in your prayers. Lord, please heal her.

* Please keep me in your prayers too. I will be undergoing another round of chemo once I recover from the flu. And though I had planned to move to TX at the end of February, I will have to delay the move until this summer. Oh, and of course I’m searching for a new roommate. But it's still a glorious time and God is so good.


mawr90 said...

Friendship is a gift, freely offered and freely received, eh? Her life is better for sharing fellowship with you even this short time.

I will join you in praying for her -- perhaps especially that any isolation becomes solitude, which serves friendship instead of pushing it away.

Drusilla said...

Friendship is always a gift and must be free. And the desire to have no friends is a free choice as well but a choice that is highly self-destructive: we were not meant to be alone; pushing love away only opens us to chaos. Because of friendship her life is better and so she is choosing to discard that which makes life better - it's scary.

Thank you for joining in prayer for her. May her time alone become solitude and may God use it to bring her closer to Himself and to her brothers and sisters in Christ.