Thursday, April 30, 2015

On My Own Terms

Recently, I came face to face with an aspect of myself based on an event that happened last August. For some reason, it has taken me nearly eight months to gain some perspective and some insight on my attitudes and thoughts from that day. My feelings and my approach were not unique to that moment, but really are a part of my core. The trigger was a line from a sermon by my pastor that I have heard uttered from the stage countless times, but for some reason this particular time that moment from eight months ago came into focus and I understood more about myself and my shortcomings. The statement that brought all of this about was a simple truth, "We are not meant to live life alone."

For many years now I have felt the void of loneliness in my life. Not just a woman's presence to be my life partner, but of friends and companions to enjoy life with. As an adult I have consistently struggled to make friends. What I lack in opportunity to meet people socially, I more than make up for in a judgmental attitude that finds all sorts of reasons to reject and dismiss those around me. As I have failed time and again to make friends, over the last several years I have essentially stopped trying. I have come to understand that it's not them it's me and have slowly and surely just isolated myself in my own fortress of solitude.

Eight months ago, I was invited to a get-together at my pastor's house on the occasion of his birthday. For reasons that I still don't understand, I accepted his invitation and went. His house was filled with about three dozen of his friends, most of whom I had never seen before. The evening was difficult for me because I was an outsider and these folks were all mutual acquaintances. Looking around the living room, kitchen, and den, I could see defined clusters of folks chatting and laughing. Not having the social skills to approach any of these tightly formed groups, I spent some time observing the people at this gathering. What I saw, for the most part, were a rather "eclectic" group of folks of a sort that I would normally never even give a second thought to interacting with. Yet while they were interacting and enjoying each other's company, I sat apart from them and tossed about labels and increased my distance. It became clear to me from that simple truth, "We are not meant to live life alone.", that apparently even though I am lonely and have very few friends, that clearly I will only accept relationship if it is on my very narrowly defined terms. It became immediately obvious to me why I am in the situation that I am in.