Ever seen a movie with a submarine deep under water? It takes some sort of hit, and the pressure of the deep sea begins to compress upon the vessel. The strain may not even be detectable for a few moments. But then, there are strange sounds and indications that something is very, very wrong. And suddenly, rivets begin to pop! In seconds the whole thing implodes.
That was my heart…buried deep in the rough waters of pain and anxiety. It had taken a few hits. Yet in the beginning, the strain I was under was not detectable to anyone around me. I was even able to conceal it from myself in some ways for a short time…until finally I could no longer withstand the external pressure bearing down on me. And then, there were signs that something was terribly wrong. My heart could no longer contain the tears. The rivets began to pop, and I imploded. And, the damage was more than I could manage on my own.
I walked away from that experience realizing it was never God’s design at all for me to carry the weight of my world on my own. He’s been there for me in amazing ways – and intimately so in the last three years – not so much because He invaded my space and swooped in to save the day like some kind of action hero. In fact, He didn’t do that at all – even when I wanted my day to be saved! No, He was there for me as much as I would let Him be, until finally I quit trying so hard to do it all on my own. Finally, I let Him all the way in.
Over time, I’ve begun to discover who my real friends are. And, I learned to carefully let them in too. And, it has been a beautiful experience…particularly with three precious people in my life.
I had plans for a little alone time tonight on a local patio in town. But spontaneously, I spent the evening with one of those real friends instead! And, it turns out I was able to sort through some tender places in my heart – not with words on paper this time – but with spoken words…(and we are women, so there were a lot of them!)
Not only is she a good listener, but one of the few people I can count on one hand that has access to speak squarely to my heart. Someone who is welcome to show me where I am wrong. And, I love her for that. It’s interesting to me as a “recovering-perfectionist”, how I developed such a strong aversion to being weak, vulnerable, or wrong – like nearly a physical reaction to it. Yet there are about three people in my life that can speak very candidly to me, and I receive it…in fact, I desire it from them. They help me navigate the uncharted waters of life.
So tonight, I am thankful for the ‘interruption’ in my plan to be alone. I am deeply grateful for this sweet, beautiful friend with whom I shared intimate conversation, a little heartache, a lot of “girl talk”, some random adventure on 7th Street (cough-cough), and fish tacos at Chimy’s.
I indulged myself in communion…when I had my mind set on solitude.
I must find a balance somewhere, or an alternating rhythm between these two extremes;
a swinging of the pendulum between solitude and communion, between retreat and return.
– Anne Morrow Lindburg, Gift from the Sea
So, here I am – Lonely Girl – confidently learning to navigate the waves of solitude and communion. Resolving to never again be an island unto myself, nor lose the anchor of who I really am in the midst of a raging sea.