Finding A Balance

‎I sat down after a long day of work to stalk my Facebook friends and play some word games. When that didn’t satisfy my mind, it started wandering… Well careening wildly might be a better description. I’ve been on a crazy roller coaster ride of thoughts lately. I have no desire or motivation for projects or cleaning right now. When that happens my mind goes into an introspective and over analyzing spiral that is hard to escape from.

Blogging Workflow

Blogging Workflow (Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)

It’s at times like this that I lose myself in books, movies, and mini marathons of tv shows on Netflix instant play. But today even those distractions did not appeal to me. So I turned to the next best thing, blogging. Because now I can express what has my mind going in vicious circles and maybe get it to shut up. So I sat down with a topic in mind, something that I have been pondering for a few months, but that recently became more clear. And when I went to write this post I found a draft of an older post that I had saved with this quote;

 

‎”There’s a difference between who we love, who we settle for, and who we’re meant for.”

I think I saw it on Facebook a while back and knew a day would come when I would be ready to blog about. It could be interpreted to be related to dating, but I think we can take it deeper than that. I think this can apply to all our close relationships in life. Family, friends, and significant others are all something that can be defined by this quote. I’m going to leave family and significant others alone for this post but may return to them at a later date. For today I want to talk about friends.
Ah friendship, that thing we all need, desire, and take for granted. It’s the taking for granted part that has had my mind buzzing for a while now. I am so guilty of this crime. The number of friends that I would like to consider close, but that I know I have not put enough effort into staying in touch. The friends I lost because I just assumed they would stick around, regardless of my actions or lack thereof. At what point do we give up? When do we decide that it’s not worth the effort. Or forget that all relationships take two people. I have some amazing friends, all over the globe. But I know that there are only a tiny handful that I could call out of the blue and talk to them like no time has passed. These are the ones I was meant for, and they for me.

The Knave of Hearts, from a 1901 edition of Mo...

The Knave of Hearts, from a 1901 edition of Mother Goose. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Too often we give too much of ourselves and our hearts away to friends who don’t return it. Or the friend grows weary of us and drifts away, or quietly ends the friendship. Much like a relationship where the feelings become one sided, so can friendships. Only with friends we are often too timid or afraid of conflict to tell them that we are weary or confront the friend that has stopped accepting our invitations to hang out. It is at this point that we begin to settle. Rather than cultivating and growing our friendships into lasting relationships we give up. But even worse, when the good ones fail, we begin to settle for friendships that are unfulfilling and below our normal standards.
Why can we stand up for ourselves in romantic relationships but with friendships we play fast and loose at times. Or is it just me? Maybe my relationship issues are bigger than just romance. Maybe I should analyze those friends that I can count on at 3 in the morning and see what traits they possess that makes us such a lasting match as friends. After all, everyone says you should marry your best friend…

dialogue

dialogue (Photo credit: paloetic)

Whatever the issue, I have found myself looking hard at some friendships that have felt one sided for some time. And recently have begun to make me feel worse about myself as a person. I question “what have I done, or how did I behave that they no longer want to hang out?” And no one should ask that about themselves. But for me, so much about my life has changed and improved in the last 6 months and especially the last 3, that I really have to wonder if maybe we just grew apart. I could “chase” after them, question them about it, try to make amends or modify the offending behavior. But I find myself thinking more along the lines of, “if they really valued our friendship and missed our time, shouldn’t they come to me and let me know?” I have reached out asking for time to hang out one on one, I have tried to encourage an open dialogue, I have even limited my interactions with them thinking maybe they just needed space or time off.  But short of just flat out confronting them head on, I feel I’ve exhausted all avenues.
For now I’ve decided to pull back completely. I guess I need some time for myself; to stop feeling hurt, indignant, and angry. Where do we draw the line between those we love, and those we are meant for… Or how do we recognize the difference? But most importantly, how do we learn to stop settling for those friendships that are just placeholders.

 

 

 

Our Deepest Need

Yes, I know I’ve been horribly absent from here.  My life went for a big rollercoaster ride and I’m all the better for it, but it was a rought journey.  There were times of absolute bliss, and times of true heartache.  Friends have come and gone, and so has love.  As usual for me I turned inward for a while reaching out as needed but feeling alone in a sea of worries.  I don’t know why I let myself get like that but I do.  Thankfully this time I had my running to help me cope.  And each stride I took on the asphalt helped me work out another problem, a hidden cry fest, or an angry itch.

A toddler girl crying

A toddler girl crying (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

But this week, I came to understand something that I think I was ignoring.  I have a strong faith, it is not one I talk about much or express in day to day life, other than actions themselves.  I reach out to God often, but not as much as I’m aware.  This past month and more, I have had some days of just utter despair, where I couldn’t hold back the tears or the sobbing.  It had been a long time since I had cried this hard.  And even the last time I had not given in to the sorrow as much as I probably should have.  I felt like crying after my marathon, but held it back, maybe if I had this wouldn’t have gone on so long.

But whatever the reason, I cried and cried.  I sat with my head in my hands, I curled up in my bed, I leaned into a friend’s arms for relief.  There were no cries for help, no prayers from my lips.  But somehow I was heard, it just took me a little while to realize it.  There is a point when we all feel that pain in our deepest soul.  For some it just is there, for others it won’t go away, for some it results in tears, and for me it becomes a sobbing.  I think that is when we lay ourselves bare.  That is when you can’t hide from what truly pains you and what you are really looking for.  A solace that is more than companionship, love, or comforting.

Sermons teach us about agape, a love that transcends all.  I think this is what that pain in our soul calls out for.  And for some that can be found in prayer, for others a small gesture, and sometimes it just fills in slowly.  Last week, I had an emotionally charged evening, and woke up feeling overwhelmed and confused.  I headed out for a run in the rain, with a soundtrack to suit my mood, and a certain South Pacific song in the back of my head.  I came back feeling clear headed and cleansed of so much, but it wasn’t till I drove to work that I became whole.  That was when I saw the rainbow.

It’s a little hard to spot at first

This was the second time I had seen a rainbow in the past weeks.  There was something about this one that just struck me, and I remembered the story of Noah, and how a rainbow is god’s promise to us.  A story I think that is often overlooked, and this detail one that is overshadowed by animals and an ark.  But then I thought about how this was the second time in just a month that I had seen a rainbow early in the morning after a good run, and a long night beforehand.  And I realized that this was God’s way of showing me that all is okay, and will be okay.  That my prayers that I didn’t even know I had uttered were being answered.

Funny enough, I changed my phone screen saver to a shot of that first rainbow right after I saw it.  Now I’m reminded every day of this gift, and the peace it brings me is immeasureable.  Life is moving forward and sometimes you are not always ready for the changes it will bring, but at least now I feel supported in a way that is bigger than life itself.

Tiaras, tears, and Triumph!

Well, I’m still alive! I made it through my first marathon and first race. A lot of people wondered why I went for such a big goal for my first, but my family will tell you I like to bite off more than I can chew. But now I know that I can take on the big challenges in life. More importantly I’ve learned how crucial a team and support is to big endeavors.
Yesterday was rough, I died a few times on the course. But the amazing coaches, Team in Training (TNT) staff, cheerleaders, bands, and just some great San Diego locals helped me keep going. Even better were all the people I met on the course. TNT runners, others who were just running, and the volunteers at all the water and med stations.
I knew long into training that it was going to be a hard race. My body is not really built for full marathons. Well not yet. My new goal is a half marathon, which I’ll be running the whole course if I can. Training will start at the end of this month and the race is in November. So I’ll be resetting my countdown. I won’t be with TNT this time, but I’m sure I’ll join them for a few runs here and there. I’m also going to check out some other groups in town.
Towards the end I met two amazing women from Calgary, Canada and we pushed each other till the end. We even took our victory photo at the end together, so I can remember them forever. It all sounds fun and positive, right?
It was definitely those things, but there is an emotional side to running a marathon. Especially when you run it for a cause. I was running in memory of my Grandma Virginia, and my Grandaddy Big Jack. Serval times when coaches were giving me pep talks to keep me going, they would tell me to think about those people who I was running for. As soon as I did the emotions would overtake me. In the last 4 miles all I could do was focus on my new found running partners and talk them over the finish line. If I had really thought about friends and family I would have probably collapsed in tears.
Thankfully I had provided my own encouragement and motivation by wearing a tiara on top of my hat for the race. I bought it on my birthday to have a little fun with my teammates at our pasta dinner. Initially we joked about me wearing it for the race, costumes being an integral part of the Rock n Roll marathon series. But then during the night when I couldn’t sleep I remembered why I started wearing a tiara on my birthdays. It was to remember all the birthday dinners with my Grandma Virginia and the little glitter cardboard tiaras and crowns she would have for us to wear. That was all I needed to make up my mind.
So yesterday I put all my gear on and rub on tattoos. I had shoe bling, a fuel belt, hot pink socks, and then a big beautiful tiara. All through the race I got compliments and was able to share the story of why I was wearing it. That was such a motivator, that I might run with a tiara more often… Just kidding.
I’m headed home with an experience of a lifetime, a big medal around my neck, sore muscles, sunburn, and the title of marathoner. So what goal do you want to accomplish? Believe me, you can reach it.