Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Grace and ungrace

Increasingly lately I've received the distinct impression that pretty much everybody I know is simply too busy to have any time for me. I'm honestly not saying that out of self-pity or to guilt-trip people into spending time with me, it's not attention seeking, it's just an observation. Everyone is very busy, with jobs, spouses, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, hobbies, holidays, the daily stuff of living. Meanwhile I find that as a single sick person I'm low down on everyone's agendas, which is understandable in a way. I'm too tired most of the time to go to most of the big events where people meet up such as weddings, church meetings and services and parties, and it takes a lot of commitment to go and see a person, a lot of time and time is something everyone seems short of.

Having said that it does make me sad to be alone so much. I start to wonder if I really have anything to offer anybody, if I'm boring to be with, do I moan too much. Part of it is the illness, I can't see people too often anyway because it's too tiring, but just sometimes it would be nice to have something sociable and fun to write down in my diary, not just another medical appointment. Some social event I can manage, something on my terms, that meets my needs (selfish as I know that sounds) not having to fit in around other people's schedules and needs. I remember at Durham someone suggesting we meet for breakfast for half an hour at 8 am (due to the drugs I have to take I'm really not a morning person) because she couldn't fit me in at any other time, literally for weeks to come. Knowing that you are that unimportant to your "friends" doesn't exactly do a lot for the self esteem or for feeling valued.

When I mentioned some of this to my therapist, how my friends never seem to have time for me, she asked if these people really were friends, if they behave like this, which I will admit set me thinking. I'm certainly not about to flounce off in a huff and cut myself off from everyone who doesn't have time for me - I wouldn't have many friends or even acquaintances left if I did - and also because I do understand that life can be very busy and that I feel the gap more because I have so little happening in my life.

Instead I am trying to control the part of this situation that I can control - how I react to the situation, to my friends. Sometimes this involves setting aside how I feel and reaching out to friends with grace, sending a short message of support and love, rather than holding onto resentment and anger about not hearing from them. There's enough "ungrace" in this world; I don't want to add to it. Before I come across as some plaster saint I should say that this is often the utter opposite of what I want to do or say - it is only by the grace of God that I can do this, His Spirit in me.

I long for some fellowship and refreshment, someone (or some people) to share the journey with, in a way I can really join in with. I would love to be able to give as well as receive too, to encourage others, listen, be there for someone, feel of value in the body of Christ. But I'm too tired to go to the meetings or do much. I suppose I'll just keep praying and be glad that Jesus doesn't have such a busy schedule or require you to attend meetings in order to spend time with Him.

As I said earlier, I'm honestly not trying to guilt-trip anyone, just express how I feel, I've got to somehow or I'll go mad.

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