The Sunshine of Good Friends Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Praying over the city at Bruegger’s Bagels (800 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN).
Today’s ride was at 36 degrees Fahrenheit. At first, when I left, I thought, “What am I doing? This is not fun.” A half mile in, I didn’t want to stop. These cooler temps are exhilarating—provided there isn’t much wind. The spring and the fall are known for their blustery days.
The October weather speaks to the season I am in with some of my friends. It seems that not all of them embrace my passion regarding social justice or views about my faith and have chose to say as much. This has caused flashbacks to the shaming I experienced with my core friendship group after my rape. Yesterday I even went back to my therapist to discuss it.
Our conversation about such important matters didn’t take long. She just looked at me and said, “You know what to do.” And I did, I just needed her to validate it—to validate me—once again.
You see, when we have unhealthy people in our lives—crazy people, they make us feel crazy. We are the problem. If we’d only see it and change, we can all get along. The problem is we are not being our authentic self AND we can never do enough to please them. Our change will never be enough, and do not mistake this toxic relationship with two healthy people who can disagree and still both feel validated. That is VERY different.
Yesterday, on my Facebook, I posted a PSA (public service announcement) about how to treat sexual assault survivors. I’d just wrapped up a conversation with a good friend, a man a greatly respect, who had unknowingly triggered me. I didn’t have it in me to talk directly to him about it at the time. I was just too raw, so I just put it out there in my feed. If you’d like to see it, it’s HERE.
I’d recently been shamed by a woman friend over the same issues. Me, trying to say what victims need over these issues and my beliefs of what we should do, and then encountering shaming resistance. Comments like, “Clearly you’re not over this.” Or, “You should probably go back to therapy.” Things to minimize and delegitimize my clearly valid concerns so they fit with her rape apologetic narrative. I left that conversation in a tailspin. It is what got me back into my therapist’s office for a reboot.
People who are not a good fit for us are in all shapes and sizes. On the outset, all might appear well, but if we are not safe to share our perspective and we are not respected, validated, and encouraged, that should not be for us—and I must learn far earlier in the process that is just not for me. To move away from these relationships before it gets so hurtful. Part of my therapy included how to handle it. I wanted to tell her all about it, and my wonderful counselor guide said, “She won’t hear it. She can’t hear it.” After all, if she could, she would have heard all I’ve said thus far.
So, my life lately is just like this fall weather, winds of turmoil blowing at times, and when they do, it’s chilly, but when I get to peddling along and the warm sunshine of my fabulously supportive friends brighten my view, it’s bliss. Complete and utter bliss. I am blessed. God has connected me with some of the best and brightest rays of sunshine out there, and I have a job to do. Share that light with others.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Dearest Heavenly Father, You are the King of relationships. You built us to want to be with you and to connect with other people, but we have limited time and limited energy so sometimes life events are set to redirect us to work to be done elsewhere. Please help us to stay in tune with your directions. You are the Master and may we be Your hands and feet. In Your Mighty Name…
Love you all dearly. Please bring any prayer requests forward. You matter to me.