Tag Archives: friendship

A Moment of Vulnerability

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A man looked at me today.  He shook my hand and waited until I met his eyes before he let go.  I wonder what he saw.  Did he see the lurking unhappiness?  Did he see a woman who was trying for just a few hours to forget how difficult life is?  That single connection, that moment suspended in time made me feel very vulnerable.  The big question “Why?” haunts me.  Why was it important to see me?  Why did he look deeper?

I spend my days with people who are caught in their own maelstroms.  Life is seldom dull these days.  Everyone has their own trials from home repair wars to battles with children to struggling to fit in with the right crowd.  I am not a reserved person.  I will tell anyone who is willing to listen how difficult my life has recently become.  Rather, I am trying very hard to not spill my sorry story.  I am trying to listen instead of talk.  Most people don’t really care in the long run anyway.  Scandal, gossip, exciting events, these are the things that make up the majority of conversation.  My life stresses haven’t changed.  They cycle over and over with no sign of resolution.  I have seen friends become frustrated with me because there is no change in my life despite their well-meaning opinions.  So the question remains, why did he pause to recognize me?

How often do you truly see the person you are talking to?  How often do you take the time to actually listen to what they are saying, to actually hear the pain and worry in their lives?  I have to admit that I don’t often.  I am usually rushing from one activity to another and don’t have time or simply don’t know what to say so instead I make a little quip and change the subject.  I detest people who make me feel as though I am a victim in my own life and constantly need to try to solve my dilemmas.  They are easily recognizable.  They usually start the conversation with a consolatory click of their tongue and a “How’s it going” sigh.  Most times I just need someone to listen to what I am saying.  It feels really good to share with others.  When I listen, am I genuinely hearing what they are telling me?  Am I looking deeper and seeing the reasons behind the story?

As humans that tenuous thread between us is so important to our well-being.  I watched my kids tonight at youth group building little webs of friendships.  My oldest girl with her shy glances at the boys, my boy still not quite comfortable in the group but leaning against the wall acting cool and nodding casually to ones who passed, my youngest giddy at being with the older ones and sharing giggles with another friend lucky enough to be allowed out.  They are creating little invisible strings flowing from person to person weaving and swaying, binding all together.  Each time two pairs of eyes meet a stronger thread forms.  Friendships are forged.  The eyes really are the windows to our souls.  That single moment of vulnerability when another looks, really looks, at us can cause an immediate retreat like I did but it could also be the beginning of a great friendship.  When was the last time you looked into someone’s eyes?

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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in musings, random, Uncategorized


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Finding a Sunny Patch

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I feel happy today.  It is the first time in a while that I can truly say that.  The world shattered around my feet but I am starting inch by inch to creep out to that sunny patch.  I keep stubbing my toes but the light is pulling me forward.

My husband and I are learning to live together again.  We had been seeing a marriage counselor for a couple months.  One session about a month ago, the counselor suddenly informed us that he was only a temporary replacement and would not be returning to our area until October.  We were free, of course, to continue with the returning therapist but both my husband and I were reluctant to start with someone new.  It took us a while to open up and we did not want to have to repeat the process again and then again in October.  I was terrified.  We both give a little but do not meet in the middle.  My husband is very strict and I am a free spirit.  Polar opposites.  Even the counselor looked nervous for us as he shook our hands goodbye.  However, we had learned a lot.  I discovered that while my husband hears what I say, he rarely interprets the meaning correctly.  He found out no matter how demanding he is, it simply cannot change my irritating habits.  Our personalities differ as well.  I am abstract and often distracted.  He resembles an express train, goal in hand, he never stops till he reaches it.  We learned about the relationship triangle and how to step off it, refusing to be a victim anymore.  We were told the proper way to argue, more importantly, I was told NO MORE YELLING!!  I am still working on this annoying concept.  The month following our final session, we were like young children trying to ride a bike without training wheels.  There were a lot of falls, a lot of throwing in the towel.  And to make matters worse, life continued to crumble.

My husband’s job future became very insecure.  He never knew from week to week, even day to day if there would be work for him.  After two very tiny paychecks, he sold his small company and took a regular job.  It means a substantial cut in pay.  We were left with bills and taxes owing on the business and no way to pay them.  His final paycheck was barely enough to pay for food.  I have to relearn how to live on a budget and stick to it.  Remember, I am a free spirit.  Rules are only guidelines and I hyperventilate when forced to abide by them.  I am used to having the freedom to spend when and how I felt the money was needed.  Stress is driving me into the fetal position.  And through all this, my kids started to crumble.

We went from a single parent household with the occasional dad to a dad being present every evening and every weekend.  Every child’s dream, right?  Well, for my kids suddenly having a father demanding that a routine be followed, chores done, and exclusive TV rights, this was like waking up in the middle of a nightmare.  Daily battles with my barely teenage son, torrents of tears from my teen daughter, and clingy hugs from my baby girl [preteen:( ] took place.  Life became a game of survival.  I dealt with the changes the only way I know how, I hid.  I started withdrawing from friends, I slept the entire day while the kids were in school and stayed up till 3am.  I ate, jumped from one crazy and frantic get-rich-quick scheme to another, and cried.  And without noticing, life stopped crumbling.

We learned to adapt.  I went on a diet.  The kids worked out a TV compromise with their dad.  Boundaries were laid out and consequences for breaking rules were drawn up.  Respect for their dad returned.  I still struggle with poor sleep habits and budgeting but over all this has been a positive change in our lives.  We discovered the tools handed us by our counselor really do help.  My husband is happier, my kids are growing.  And I learned a stubbed toe only hurts for a little while.

I am happy again.


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Your Friend or Mine?

My grandparents still together after 57 years. I hope to be sitting with my husband at the end of our years in spite of the trials of our life.

When my husband and I started having difficulties in our marriage, it affected every area of our lives.  He rarely called during working hours anymore.  He works long hours and is often not home at night so phone calls are our main means of communication.  Home time was spent with him in front of the TV or computer or other electronic device, I rushed around keeping the kids in line, using the opportunity to grocery shop without an entourage, or relax with a book in my bedroom.  Socially we started doing things separately from each other.  It was never a spoken agreement rather sort of a mutual consensus that he had his interests and I mine.  Without realizing it, friends became pawns.

This was glaringly obvious when I attempted to join him one weekend in a visit with one of our friends.  I had thought that this would be a nice way to reconnect.  We were leaving the kids at home and it was just the two of us going to visit with a couple who are easy to be around.  I was surprised, hurt, and more than a little angry when my husband tried to discourage me from coming with him.  This was his downtime and I was most definitely not invited.  I went anyway.  It was not one of my greater ideas.  It only emphasized the gap widening between us.

We often vacillated between friends and strangers, sometimes in as little as several hours.  Naturally with so much emotional intensity, each of us sought an outlet for our angst.  I turned to my mother for encouragement, sympathy, and the occasional scolding.  He talked with close personal friends.  Never once did I think about the aftershock that was sure to follow.  It came as a complete shock one afternoon when a dear friend would not speak to me.  Mystified, I was describing his odd behaviour to my husband during one of our amiable times.  A guilty look crossed his face and he confessed to confiding in great detail to this friend the extent of our marital discord.  Never before had I considered that we would lose our mutual companions.  I myself try to be impartial and recognize that there are always two sides to a story whenever I hear a disagreement.  I naively thought everyone did this.

This started a new chapter for me.  I became more conscious about who I talked to and how much I shared.  I focused more on my children and their friends.  I cultivated anonymous online friendships that required no personal information or input from me.  In short, I became shallow, only concerned with myself and my own feelings.  Deeply hurt by betrayal, I still struggle to fully trust my friends.  After all a friend is someone who makes life bearable and helps us over the bumps in the roads.  Friends are there to laugh with, empathize with.  They are a connection in this world of empty faces, the strings that tie each one of us to the other one.  They are that elusive feeling of belonging that each of us strives for it.  Can a broken person be a good friend?

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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in family, marriage


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