Someone recently made the comment that I don’t seem like an introvert, since I always seem to be organizing activities, and I seem to like spending a lot of time with people. Words I never thought I would hear. But this someone never knew the past me.
Flashback to high school. I was so shy that I had a fear of joining clubs, making new acquaintances, and speaking up in class. Even after college, I hated small talk and meeting new people. Still struggle with it to this day. It was an issue to make my voice heard.
Fast forward to 2009. I was still in school. I still had no idea what I wanted to do in life. I was still a complete hermit.
It was also the year that I finally completed a full-length novel, decided to move on from a nonsensical heart issue, and had the honor of being the maid of honor at my best friend’s wedding, in which I had to make a speech.
And I think that’s the year things began to change drastically.
Looking back now, I can see how God used all this time to grow me. I couldn’t see it then, couldn’t understand it. I wanted answers about my uncertain future. When would I finally be financially independent? Would I ever get out of school? Why did it seem like all my friends were moving on in life, while mine remained stagnant?
But mine DIDN’T remain stagnant.
The process may have taken longer, but all the steps were necessary. All those years in grad school forced me to come out of my shell, to develop better communication skills, to learn how to present myself in a more confident manner.
I’ve been thinking too about friends.
Sometimes I wonder if the friends I’ve made more recently would have ever been my friends in that previous era of my life. Maybe not. But it’s just like how some of my oldest friends have also changed so much that they’ve flown away from me, maybe not intentionally, but because we’re just different now. Meanwhile, other long-time friends have only become closer, and still others, though were in different geographic locations, will always have the heart to heart connection no matter what.
It’s quite simple to make acquaintances, people who you know on a very shallow level. But it’s a rare case to be able to form a true connection to a person, a tying of souls that seems effortless, but also takes time to cultivate and grow further and that I actually WANT to cultivate and grow further.
In my life, I have several different types of friends.
Friendships take effort, so I understand why sometimes, what was once a deep friendship kind of just drifts apart. People are busy living different lives. One got married, the other’s still single, and the married one chooses to immerse herself in her husband’s circle of friends.
Sometimes the friendship seems to be one-sided, or even parasitic. One person makes all the effort, but the other doesn’t reciprocate. One person makes all the effort, and the other takes and never gives. That’s not a healthy friendship, and I’ve realized you can’t keep them all.
4. Bosom buddies
My favorite book in the world is Anne of Green Gables. In it, Anne Shirley calls Diana Barry her bosom friend. I’ve always liked that term because it describes those friends who understand your heart and who you hold in your heart, those who you can take into your bosom and just hold on tight when you want to cry or celebrate or just go crazy.
I met my best and longest friend the first day of first grade. We’re in different states now, but whenever we do see each other, it’s like nothing has changed. Although, I must admit, I do have to improve on keeping in touch. It was rather convicting when I recently read her blog and realized how much I didn’t know about her life recently. It made me sad to know that I haven’t been as available as I should have been, but it’s something I should improve on.
I think there are only about 5 people I can truly call my bosom buddies. And if that’s all the friends I ever get in life, I think I would be content. We connect in every sense of the word, and my only conviction is that I may have the courage to truly act on what I believe in and be able to share the power of God’s love with those who don’t know Him yet.
5. Second glancers (which mostly involves friends of the mysterious opposite sex)
There are certain people you think you’ll be friends with, but it never happens. Such as this one guy I connected with but nothing came of it. Or the crush I had in college who never spoke to me again after he moved away.
And there are others that you don’t think you’ll ever see again, but then you keep running into them, and somehow they end up being a pretty big part of your life before you even know what hit you.
One person comes into mind when I think of my own life. A second glancer. A person I thought I would never meet again, and then lo and behold, a few years down the line, he shows up seemingly out of the blue. Actually, we met in 2009, the same year that my life really began to change, and then again about a year and a half ago. And it’s funny how the novel I finished writing that same year has strange parallels to my own life, especially regarding the second glancer. All of it was unintentional, since it was written prior to our meeting.
Part of the reason why I’m writing this in my blog is because I don’t know most of the people reading this, but I feel like you won’t judge me as harshly as people who know me would.
The thing is, I’ve always believed certain things, which I’m struggling to hold onto now, not because I don’t believe them anymore, but because it’s just so hard not to give in. It has to do with how Christians should not be unequally yoked with non-believers. But that in itself is a separate topic that I could write about for pages, so I’m not going to get into it.
But because I’m starting to like this person as more than a friend, certain people are telling me to distance myself from him. But others are telling me it’s okay to compromise what I believe in.
This is what I think: this second glancer has come into my life not by coincidence, but because I believe we were meant to be friends. God must have placed him in my life for a reason. So to say that I should just kick him out of my life isn’t right. But I also don’t think it’s right for people to tell me to compromise my beliefs. In the end, their words just make me feel more lost and confused and frustrated, and my heart keeps playing a crazy game of tug of war.
I guess what I’m saying is, it’s hard enough to sort through all the confusion without everyone giving me their opinions and well-meaning advice. I’m tired of people telling me what to do and what not to do. Everything they say, I already know. I just want to let time take its course. Whatever happens will happen.
I realize this entry has gone all over the place, but I just needed to let it out somehow. Thank you for allowing me to express myself. And if you mean to judge me, please do so in your own head.
I’m going to try to tie this back to the beginning though. Timing. Five years from now, I don’t know what will happen. I will always have questions about my future, about my present. I don’t know why I’m going through certain trials and tests at the moment, or why it feels like my heart is aching.
But I do know that God has His timing, and He is pruning me so that I’ll grow stronger, even when I feel like it’s taking way too long. It is only by His strength that I can make it through and remember to give thanks rather than to despair.