Sitting in my car, looking out at the Lake, overcast skies, fall colors all around. I have fallen into what seems to be insurmountable grief. My heart aches, my eyes are teary, my soul is bruised. I feel unfairly alone.
Leaving church this morning, I saw a text from my sweet friend. Due to my recent move, we are now separated by a mountain range. Her text read, “Most days I’m really grateful you were able to make the move. Today is not one of those days. Missing you in the neighborhood. Would have loved to stop by for soup and dessert like we did now many hundreds of times over 25 years.” Her next text read, “I started to tell my husband what I wrote to you and I started to weep.”
I called my friend. Driving around my new town, I told her all about it. The fear I have for my son who is making some poor choices. The lack of personal space I feel in my apartment as I share it with three young adults. The weariness I feel in learning a new job, trying to prove my worth, constantly pouring into others. My loneliness. I feel invisible. In the four months I have lived in this town, and worked at a huge church, I have had only one invitation to someone’s house.
As I poured my heart out to her, my friend did what she has done for 25 years: she listened, reflecting and commiserating. My friend knows what it feels like to be a single woman sitting alone in church, surrounded by people. We are kindred spirits in our personal pain through loss. My friend is with me as I peel the onion of my life and look for what is below the surface, what is at the core of me.
I fear for my children’s choices. I am lonely for community with my oldest daughter. I have invested what feels like a lifetime in other people’s children, and I want God to do the same now with mine. I want God to heal the great wounding of our lives and restore us to one another.
There was healing in my friend’s presence. She excels in listening, in getting mad and sad in all the right places, and has been here for me in the history of so many hundreds of phone calls over a quarter century of friendship. She extends me peace by allowing me to simply be me.
After we hung up, two things came to mind. As the onion is peeled back, and my eyes start to sting, her weeping joins mine. I am crying in church, and she is crying a hundred miles away. Kindred spirits. I believe that God let her cry my tears, share my pain and in doing so, took some of my burden from me.
I also realized that yesterday was my wedding anniversary. Now divorced, I thought it would lessen, the pain of all that was lost. And yet, there it is, in my face. Failure, grief, anger, fear, loneliness, weariness, all of it. It is part of the pain today, part of the tears, part of the onion. More years married than single. While I do not wish to return to that marriage, I do wish that somewhere inside me this wound would heal.
I take a deep breath. My friend reminded me that I need to look at what is life-giving to me, and what steals life away. She encouraged me to give myself time to rest, to be quiet, to be alone. Once again, kindred spirits. She knows whereof she speaks.
God, I am grateful that you put me on my friend’s heart today, for the tears we shed and have shed, for and with each other, all these long years. I am not alone. I am not invisible. I am loved. Thank You.