Back in July I made myself a resolution to love others better, and here I am in August, less than 4 weeks later…failing. Miserably. For all of the backing I thought I had, the encouragement I gave myself, the strides I started taking, I found myself face first in a ditch wanting to quit. All in one day. All on my birthday.
I’d been investing in others, deepening relationships, reaching out and encouraging friends and on the one day I was slightly hoping to see fruit from my efforts, I was left in the dust. And listen, please don’t hear what I’m not saying. I am not saying that I expected the whole world to stop because it was my birthday, or for everyone that I ever have spoken to bow down at my feet. I am not the ‘it’s my party I can cry if I want to’ type of girl…. but I did think that all of my efforts would result in a little bit more on the one day it would make sense to be celebrated.
My sweet husband attempted a small get together and it fell apart in front of our eyes. Friends who love me and care about me, who say they miss me, those who said they would be there; they didn’t show up. Even though we made the drive to make it easier for everyone else, picked a middle place that everyone (families or not) could enjoy, prayed for (and received) great weather and a free location. The truth came out, I wasn’t enough for others to want to see. How did I suddenly become the person who doesn’t have friends? How did I suddenly become the one who isn’t well liked? In spite of all this, still to be left blindsided. I was embarrassed. Oh guys, I was so embarrassed. I was instantly swallowed up with self-loathing. I had convinced myself and Greg, too, that this would be a great day, only to find ourselves shaking our heads on the long drive home. His efforts were suddenly void and I was ashamed to be his wife; the wife who thought she had left a life full of friends only to come back to nothing. So now while I still had absolutely nothing in Georgetown, it was blatantly clear I had nothing left for me in Cincinnati either.
I was instantly taken back to elementary school, being picked last for basketball; except this time I didn’t get to be the cool teacher-selected line leader who brought in homemade cupcakes and was suddenly friends with the whole class. I was just the now 28 year old, standing in the park watching my watch tick by wondering if those who said they would show were soon to be walking around the corner.
We were 15 miles into our trip toward home when the tears stopped and it clicked: I was going to clam up. I was mad and hurt and I wanted to cuss at everything. I determined then to spend my days talking to the very few friends I did have and close family members. Beyond that, I wouldn’t care about much else.
And then I remembered my resolution.
My goal in making the resolution had nothing to do with anyone else, nothing to do with their actions (or non actions) towards me, their thoughts about me. It had EVERYTHING to do with me, with how I feel, how I live, how I love. I have to do all these things in spite of my own feelings.
I want to love even when I am feeling especially unloved.
I want to respect in the face of disrespect.
I want to honor others even when their actions are dishonoring toward me.
I continue to choose to fight against my own selfish feelings. I am choosing to continue to invest in the friendships I have without the pain but with forgiveness. I am choosing to express my gratitude for those who didn’t in fact leave me alone (because yes there were some that showed and I couldn’t thank them enough; not then, not now, but I will keep trying).
I want to continue striving to live well, especially through the pain.I want to love better, too, because I know the painful truth: I don’t always love like I should. I fail. I fall short. But…I don’t want to live a life full of grudges or surface friendships because I am too scared to let anyone in for the risk of feeling pain. I also want to live in this moment, remember how it felt to be shoulder shaking crying in my husbands arms, to try my absolute hardest to make sure others don’t feel the same way because of me.
Best resource I have found to love well? Stay tuned, readers.