On Coming out of the Lonely Places

I feel as if I have been paralyzed and lost to wander around life a small child. Why? Because my beloved Macbook died over a week ago. So we rushed it to the Mac Gods, prayed over it and it rose from the dead just like Jesus (okay, not really). But alas, I sit here in Ugly Mugs typing upon my long lost love of a Mac who has been beside me for the better part of 6 years storing my memories, love notes, and ramblings. It’s good to be back, with my Mac with a almond latte’ beside me and a dozen of dirty East Nashville hipsters surrounding me. Yes, life is normal again.

I need to be honest with you. With myself. A few years ago, I took a class that forever changed me, the way I see the world, the way I view myself and the many layers of Sydney. Spiritual Formation. Sophmore year. Dr. Curtis. That class tossed a stone in the water which cast a single ripple that continues to multiply and span out every day of my journey. There is no shore in sight to stop it either.

Here’s a summary of what I learned about myself:

I am a natural Introvert. 

I was pushed (by others but mostly myself) to be an extrovert. 

I am an expert at convincing myself that I am fine, strong, okay, unhurt, unbothered, peachy keen at times when I am not at all any of those things. 

So, therefore, I  am good at convincing others of this too. I’m a terrific actor. 

Until this realization, I was doing okay (or so I thought). There are times when I find myself sweeping the sh!t under the rug and going back to my typical coping mechanisms. Here they are:

I shut myself off.

From myself,

From others,

From people I dearly love.

I disappear.

Why? Because sometimes, when I feel most vulnerable it is much easier to maintain and control if I barricade myself in.

But, that is such a lie. It is of no help. Because when I barricade myself in, I allow the fear, the feeling of unworthiness, and guilt to manifest within my soul and I loose the chance of community to be a part of my healing.

I am learning that as a new found introvert that I do require a lot of time to myself. I start feeling overwhelmed when I have been around a lot of people for an extended period of time and just like Jesus, I feel the need too get away from the crowd and find a quiet place.

The difference between Jesus (and just a couple of other differences 😉 ) and I though is that he used that time to gather his wits, recharge so that he could go back to the needs of others. With me, I find so much comfort in the quiet place that I do not want to leave, I lock the doors and stay way longer than I should. I don’t answer my phone, I don’t go to events, I distance myself as much as possible and I get in a rut. A serious rut. I start believing that I have I am not good enough to go back to the people I love or that they have marked me off.

Friday morning I got a text from a dear friend. Claire invited me to go to a First Friday service where a group of our dance friends would be performing. Now, you must realize that I have been in a rut, a serious rut of shutting off others and building my cocoon. For whatever reason, I had this sudden realization and felt the need to break the cycle. I had a friend who thought I was worthy enough of sharing an evening with her. I could pass it up. I could just go home, put my sweats on and drown my long work day with Friends re-runs but I knew I had to break the cycle. I said yes. And I meant it. I didn’t want to flake, I couldn’t because it was my time to break the cycle.

I’m glad I did because as I sat in that larger than life cathedral and watched God in the dance and heard God in the music, I sought God in my heart. I was moved. I cried. And for the first time in a while I felt alive and a lot more like the Sydney I was made to be. Claire, if your reading this I prayed during that service a prayer of thankfulness for your loyal friendship. Thank-you for being a friend who is honest and willing to hold my life up to the light for what it truly is and allow me to help you with the same.

So, my encouragement to you because I know I need to hear it too, is realize that we are worthy. You are worthyOf friendship, of love, of joy. We all need times to go away from the crowd and gather ourselves but let us not be stuck there. May we not suffocate in the lonely places. May we have the courage to say yes, to go, to share with the ones we love. And may we be the Claire who simply invites the friend out of the lonely place to share an evening with them.

-Sydney

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