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A Handful

August 25, 2008

I’ve decided that I hate Facebook.  I spent a few hours trying to think of all the people I’ve ever know in my life and I could only think of a few dozen.  A few dozen? I’ve lived in many states, went to over twenty schools, and I can only think of a handful of people?

Alone and small – that’s how I feel as I click around and see friends of mine with hundreds of Facebook friends. Hundreds? I can’t imagine knowing that many people – even slightly.

When Hugh and I got married, he had family come from all over the Midwest to our small college where our ceremony was held. Aunts, uncles, cousins, cousin-in-laws, and a whole mess of grandparents showed up that August weekend in Tennessee.

My future mother-in-law wanted a picture of the family.  Hugh’s family piled out onto the steps of the church, spilling over onto the ground as the photographer tried to fit them all in the shot.

I had three family members at my wedding. The first and second were my twelve-year old brother, who was living with us in our college apartment, and my mother.  (My grandmother had hurt her back and couldn’t make the ceremony.)

My mother’s husband (and my third family member) was going to walk me down the aisle – but he almost didn’t make the wedding.  I remember nervously waiting for John to show up the night of our rehearsal, wondering what I would do he didn’t make it after all.

After the wedding rehearsal was over and I had gaily walked myself down the main aisle alone, my college pastor approached me. “Jessica,” he said seriously, studying my face, “If John doesn’t come, I would be honored to walk you down the aisle tomorrow.”

“O-kay, Gary…” I said, blinking back tears, feeling relieved and embarrassed at the same time. Mostly embarrassed – because I figured it said something about a girl when her stepdad won’t come to her wedding – she must not be worth much.

That’s how I feel on Facebook – like that lonely twenty-one year old who doesn’t have any family to come to her wedding.

I want four hundred friends. I want a large family. I want cousins spilling out over old church steps in ill-fitting Kohl’s outfits.  I want to be grumpy because I have a huge Christmas list and – darn it – I just can’t afford to buy gifts for all the cousins this year.

This morning I told Jesus I was feeling really sad about this stuff – that it makes me feel insecure and lame and small.  I sat in my prayer chair in my quiet house and told Him everything.

As I did, I remembered that He knows what it is like to be lonely. He really, really does.  There were times when He was surrounded by the crowd – so popular and loved. And yet He died with just a handful of people around Him.

So I am going to thank God today for my handful.  For my husband, Hugh, who has loved me through depression.  For my best friend Amanda, who loves me more deeply than any other friend I have ever had.  For my Grandmother, who cooks big pots of chicken soup and fills a tupperware bowl for me saying, “Fill it all the way, Jessie.”

I have everything – and everyone – I need in Him. He can fill every place inside me in a way that no one else can. I believe this because I’ve lived this. I just needed to be reminded of it today.

Lord, help me to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18).  Thank you that you love me.  Thank you for showing me that love on the mornings when I feel alone.  I love you so much – I am so thankful for you.  Where would I be without you?  Oh, you are wonderful.  In the name of your Son, Amen.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Patty permalink
    August 25, 2008 1:31 pm

    Oh, I was so sad as I read your blog today, that you hate facebook.

    I felt the same way, and was competing with my husband at how many friends I have on fb. I haven’t lived in 10 zillion parts of the States like he has, but still my friends list has steadily grown. It’s honestly become an open door to make some new friends.

    So – if it’s any consolation – I’d be your friend on fb! 😉 Not because I’m still competing with my husband, but because I genuinely enjoy your blog and would love to get to know you on fb!

    FB is not only a way to re-connect with people, but it’s also a way to meet new people. And honestly you don’t want over 400 names on your list of friends…..it’s quality not quantity that counts!!! Think most people who have that many friends on fb just accept people’s invite to have a huge list!!

    With all that said, do I sound like a commercial for fb? 😉 LOL

  2. August 25, 2008 3:21 pm

    Jess, I feel your pain. Husband’s family/friends at wedding: 325.
    Mine:0.
    No family came.I had no friends from my past life. No Dad would come and walk me down the aisle. No mother of the bride. Nada.
    But God…..
    He blessed me over and above anything I could have imagined with Rod’s family and my new family in Christ. Amazing stuff.
    “God places the lonely in familes.” Psalm 68:6

  3. Carol permalink
    August 25, 2008 3:27 pm

    Just like I try not to let my blog stats be a measure of my worth, I’m trying not to let my number of friends on Facebook be either. I only have a small number of friends (compared to the 100’s others have) and of those I only really communicate with about 5 regularly. I still enjoy seeing what everyone’s up to though. If you want to be my friend, search for Carol Mehl in Princeton, NJ. I’ll leave it up to you though. I don’t want to be pushy.

  4. Carol permalink
    August 25, 2008 3:32 pm

    Just in case, in my profile pic I’m wearing a green shirt and I used my maiden name as well as my married name. I noticed there is another Carol Mehl on FB. 🙂

  5. August 25, 2008 10:55 pm

    Dear Jess…

    Will you be my friend on facebook?
    I would love it so very much and…
    I’m looking forward to having coffee with you someday!
    Hugs….

    Laura Steidinger Strough (facebook name)

  6. Laura permalink
    August 26, 2008 7:36 am

    Hey Jess, forget facebook. Think of the tea parties you’re gonna throw in Heaven. You won’t be able to keep us away. The women who are your sisters who just live too far away and are too busy and don’t want to seem like we’re stalking you to reach out and be friends. You just have friends you haven’t met yet! By the way it’s Laura Copenhaver and the picture on my FB profile is my goofy cat Sherman. I’d love to be your FB friend in a totally non-stalking way! : )

  7. August 26, 2008 8:32 am

    I have a feeling you have no idea how loved you are and how much “family” you have. Like me.

    No doubt the church move is adding to this. Keep reminding yourself of the deep, abiding, precious relationships you DO have; even if they are few in number, they are worth so much more than 400 FB friends, and most people would do anything to have a husband and BFF love you the way Hugh and Amanda do, or to be able to have children at all. Love you and praying you feel rich in relationships today.

  8. Amanda McEwen permalink
    August 26, 2008 9:03 am

    You made me feel better today :).
    Facebook schmacebook. It’s a fad just like my space. Being “Friends” with a bunch of people who the most interaction you have is a computerized comment here and there. No thanks. I’d take just you ANY. DAY. OF. THE. WEEK. Like you have time for it any ways :). I’m too high maintenance. hee hee.

    And think about my family, it’s not that big either but when they all get together for a special occasion, I go in the other room and pray for the rapture!!

    Love you SO SO much.

  9. August 26, 2008 10:28 am

    I felt every emotion as I read your blog this morning. I have known that feeling of loneliness so well at so many moments in life. I am single and some days I just pray to God to just give me someone to share my life with and to have a family with that I can actually feel like I am part of a family for the first time. Then I just ask Him to hold me and let me lay in His arms. He feels every piece of me. He knows every part of me. Today I just thank Him for all the special people He has given me in my life. Each of them has been placed there by Him for a special purpose if only just to be themselves and nothing else.

  10. November 4, 2008 3:25 pm

    I know we’ve been out of touch for a long time. But I have thought of you and missed you often over the years–you have always been such a delight. And I’m glad you found me on Facebook. 🙂

  11. November 11, 2008 11:30 am

    I’m glad you found Karen, too. If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t be reading your blog, and I’ve really been blessed by a lot of it.

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