Today I tried an experiment during an hour drive to meet a client. Having pretty much woken up in deficit mode (see chapter 9 of my book), I did my routine search for ways out. I had failed to connect with the more mature women in my women’s Bible devotion and felt debilitated enough by my own hurt to not adequately be able to speak out against it. After all, in these New Jersey churches there is, it appears, a disdain for those who present as less than perfect. My attempt to share became an invitation to these ladies, on 2 separate occasions, to supply a list of pat solutions, more Bible study on my part with an implication that my feelings were wrong, that the last church had just been a “bad fit,” or that I was not capable of adequately interpreting the scriptures for myself. I had never met either of these ladies and they did not know a thing about me but apparently projected onto the situation who they thought I was. With my extreme amount of training and experience in counseling and mental health, I could see what they were doing wrong. They weren’t listening to me, they didn’t bother to build rapport before giving advice. And they battled with me, at least the last one did. They seemed to believe it was their place to “own” my life, as representatives of the church, although they had never even met me before.
This disparaging situation left me more alone than before I had decided that connecting with the lovely ladies in my women’s Bible study was the answer to my alone-ness. The first time this happened, a few weeks ago, I turned to my trusted friend, beer. Resolved not to take the same route this time, I simply decided this study was not for me. These people were not for me, and this was okay. I still needed to find good friends, and for my own benefit, I would continue the search. However, to think of reaching out, only to have my hand bitten is still a dilemma that grieves me, and causes me to pause and restructure my thoughts.
“They have not had my training,” I remind myself. “They don’t know me. It is what it is.” And last, “it is okay that I’m alone.” After all, I think God has revealed that while I’m writing so much, this is not a bad thing. I need to be alone, to explore the hidden world within, for it is precious and valuable. The ladies in this group, while also valuable, are of a different breed. If any is the oddball, it is me and I confess it. How in the world can I expect these ladies to understand such an anomaly?
The exercise I assigned myself was to come up with 10 things worth enough to get me out of bed in the morning. This was only a little harder than I had expected it would be.
- My online group of over 27,000 commemorating the memories shared by others who grew up in the same area downriver from Detroit. The holidays are rich with memories, and hence it is an exciting time.
- My hula hooping. I am finally starting to get the shoulder hooping down. It’s also an amazing way to get in shape.
- My new band. We practiced last night for our first gig on Thanksgiving, and we sounded amazing together. Perhaps this is the music group I have always dreamed of.
- Getting my pets into animal therapy at hospice (Lijah has an interview tomorrow)
- My job, and the fact that I have gotten so many placed in jobs which make their quality of life better.
- The Christmas season. I love to shop, and have a good reason to buy gifts for family.
- My cat. He has so many great things about him and is my closest companion.
- The election coverage. I was able to bond with a lot of people on Facebook as we all shared different opinions with each other. Also, I enjoy following the beginning stages of Trump’s presidency.
- Of course my book. When I take time to read it. I find it is exceptional, and even I get something from it.
The last one was difficult. Everything I could think of was just “okay” not really worth
getting out of bed for. But I began to muse on things just out of my reach which could make my life better, or “worth getting out of bed for” as I had stated it. I chose as number 10. reading, something I used to be very excited about, something that could take me to new worlds. Something through which I could escape from a world which occasionally I declare to be not even worth living. I used to love reading and I’m sure I can find my way back. But the next series of thoughts today took me down a whole new path altogether. What else? I asked myself. What else could there be? What other possibilities? What was not on my list which I could add to make life better?
I could continue to pursue the writing route. Obviously there are all kinds of opportunities. Also I have more books to write. It occurred to me yesterday that I could very easily take all religious references out of my book and it would be palatable for non believers as well. I know I am liable to be scrutinized for this. However, my allegiance is to God and as it states in the Psalms, “I will not fear what man can do unto me” (Psalm 118:6 ).
And so, from a place of deficit in my soul, there is now hope. If I can allow myself to be who I am, though alone and void of many close friends, as I suppose God Himself has allowed in my life, I can then have my true dreams, to read and to write, to explore new worlds I find on my own. I will still search for those valuable friends. But I will not despise my alone-ness any more, just because I have not found them quite yet.
One more caveat to my day was a wonderful cd that I ordered which just came in the mail. It changed my life for the better, and I will be listening to it non stop. Please do yourself a favor and get a copy. This is from students affiliated with Rick Warren’s church. COS stands for cluster of students. Although young people wrote these songs, they are powerful. I cried listening to them today.