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Hello, Lonely

April 29, 2009

Last year I complained about my friends.

“Hugh, I have so many people in my life…I don’t have time for all my friends…”  There was a note of pride in my voice as I talked – it feels good to be loved, to be wanted, to be invited for coffee.

This year is different.  My purposeful friendships have fallen by the wayside as death and teaching have consumed every spare moment.

I am too tired to be a friend.  I talk to Amanda on the phone when I can; but I ignore almost every other email from Beck, Katrina, Brenda, Alley…Women that I really love and care about.  I read their emails, then move on to my “to-do” lists, sad at this empty part of my life.

When Hugh and I were in Oregon we stayed at the most incredible hotel.  If you ever go to Oregon, go stay at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.  It’s this quirky hotel for book-lovers – every room is decorated in honor of a different author.  Our first night there, as we made our way to our room (F. Scott Fitzgerald), we passed by the Colette room.

The door to the room was open, and noise poured into the hall. When I glanced in, I could see about fifteen women in their 50’s and 60’s gathered around in a big circle, laughing and talking loudly over one another.

Books were open everywhere, and some of the women leaned against each other as the conversation rose and fell in waves of deep friendship.  I felt this odd longing to join the group, to run in and say “Hi! My name is Jess, can I come in?”

I met one of the women the next morning in the coffee and tea room.  “Oh, were you in that wonderful group of women last night?” I blurted out.

She grinned, coffee pot in hand.  “Oh, yes, Honey.  We’re a book club – we’ve been getting together since our kids were all in diapers.”

“Well, you guys were amazing.  I wanted to come in!” I laughed loudly, showing her I didn’t REALLY want to come in to a room of unknown sixty-year-old women.

“You should have!” She smiled again as she finished pouring her coffee and left the room.

I filled my own coffee mug and went to the large window facing the ocean.  Sitting in a chair, I flipped open my prayer notebook.  I couldn’t really pray, though.  I kept thinking about the book club lady.

I’ll never have a group of fifteen friends to laugh with in my sixties if I don’t spend time developing the friendships in my thirties.  I know it takes time and effort to be a good friend, and I have no one to blame but myself for my current lonely state.

I have to be intentional if I want friends.  I need to email Becky and Katrina.  I should call Brenda.  I need to reach out to women in my Sunday School class, even though I feel stupid and unknown.  I should do the things I know to do – realizing that a life without friends is empty.

I need friends to pray for me, speak truth to me – and I can do the same for them.  Friends to come over for a “Pride and Prejudice” night and friends to tell me to lighten up when parents at my school treat me like the spawn of Satan.

It’s life together – and it’s worth the effort.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 29, 2009 10:09 pm

    And isn’t that what life is all about – relationships? And that does include friendships.. It IS hard as we get older and get busy and deal with things like grief.. Hang in there, Jess!

  2. April 30, 2009 8:12 am

    I can SO relate to this. Being a pastor’s wives makes my anti-social tendencies even worse. I am the BEST acquaintance ever, but apart from 1 or 2 girlfriends, I’m not close to anyone. I would LOVE to have a big group of girlfriends like that. But you’re right… I should start by paying closer attention to the friendships I already have.

  3. Rainbow Brite permalink
    April 30, 2009 9:04 am

    I have always dreamed of having a group of friends like on the TV show “Friends.” you know, we see each other every day, just walk into each others’ homes, meet at our usual coffee shop. Just knowing that there is always someone there to hang out with. It’s cheesy and a TV show, I know. But, doesn’t it look great?
    It’s hard, Jess. I know. I’m lonely too.

  4. April 30, 2009 10:22 am

    I know just the hotel you’re talking about! We used to live near there and every time we went to Newport I wanted to stay there.

    I have never had an over abundance of friends, aquaintences aplenty. I have to say that the last couple of years I have just let being busy keep me more alone than ever. Loneliness bites, so I have been trying so much harder lately in putting myself out there. It just isn’t working the way I hoped. My hope is that in persevering I will be able to have some good friends again. Even commenting is wild and crazy for me!

  5. April 30, 2009 11:17 am

    I think there are a lof of us who feel the same way. I seem to go through phases..sometimes I have too many friends, sometimes not enough…

  6. April 30, 2009 1:42 pm

    How about we invite every woman that comments on this post to a Pride and Prejudice Pajama Party? (Why, yes, that *is* a lot of P’s.) I’ll provide the spiced chai latte and we can all sit around complaining that we don’t have any friends. Then we’ll look around and see that we do.

    Friday night, May 8th. My house.

    Put away that to do list and all y’all come over.

  7. Becky permalink
    May 1, 2009 8:59 pm

    Hi my friend! I love you! Miss you and know real soon we will hang! Isn’t summer right around the corner???? 🙂

  8. trendyand2kids permalink
    May 2, 2009 10:03 am

    Jess,

    Does it make you feel better to know that I will still sit in a room with you and talk about books when we are 60 – even if we are BOTH working mom’s right now and live 1000 miles apart, and don’t have the time or energy to pick up the phone when we should?

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