"... and thank you for your support."
— Frank Bartles and Ed Jaymes
I was ever so gently admonished by Len this week for not sharing what's on my mind when something is bothering me. To quote the great Jim Dale as the narrator of Pushing Daisies, the facts are these.
I've not been sleeping particularly well for the last couple weeks and one day I offhandedly mentioned in a text to her that I guess I had too much on my mind. But every time she asks about it, I seem to deflect the conversation back to her as I try to be a support for her. This is unintentional, I assure you — the deflecting part, not the support part — but it keeps happening nonetheless. I guess I still haven't shaken off all my old habits from the walled-off days. And I suppose I got so adept at side-stepping intrusion attempts that it became second nature to me.
Part of it also stems from my natural aversion to talking about myself. I will never be the guy to tell somebody else to pipe down so I can make the conversation about me. That's just not who I am. I'm a huge introvert and don't like being the object of attention. Plus, I'd much rather listen to the other person. In Len's case, I really prefer to get to know her more. But I'm coming to understand that doing so robs her of the opportunity to be a blessing to me. It keeps her from being able to give back instead of only being the recipient. And I guess that's not fair, is it?
I think part of what it means to be made in the image of God is that we have an inborn need to be in relationship with each other. I believe that's the true meaning of Genesis 2:18 where God says, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." People usually take that to mean a marital relationship and in one sense it does. But I think it's more general than that. God desires fellowship with us so it is part of our very nature to desire fellowship with others. We make each other better by sharing life together, by celebrating each other's joys and sharing each other's burdens.
This evening, Len and I were finally able to talk for a while. And although it took some prodding on her part, I finally blathered on about what has been bothering me. I can't write about it here just yet but I will as soon as I begin to understand my own mindset about it. But the big lesson of this is that it's rather nice to have someone who cares enough to not let me evade the question, even if it that evasion is unintentional. That has been missing in my life for a long time.
So, I'd like to thank her right here in a very public way.
Thank you, Len. Thank you for your concern. Thank you for providing a safe, comfortable place for me to open up. A place for me to be a bit vulnerable about something that I'm not proud of. Thank you for persisting and drawing me out from behind the wall when my natural instinct is to hide deeper. For just giving enough of a crap to keep asking the question. You are my dear, dear friend and I treasure your presence in my life. Amid all the others, you are special. I love you and I thank God for you every day. Thank you.