Monday, March 28, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately, and I've come to a conclusion. Friendships are important, but you can't base your life around them.

I've lived in 2 different countries, USA and Mexico. Let me just say first off, I would never, ever change that. I love that I have two different places that I can call home. And there are so many things that I wouldn't have learned had I not moved to Mexico, or if I had not returned to USA.

That being said, moving, whether to a new place, or back to an old one, is tough. When I first moved to Mexico, I was acquainted with many of the people here, but had no one that I really knew. No one to listen to me, no one to talk my problems over. As the months went on, I gradually began to open myself up more and more to the people here, which, for those of you who know me, is a huge deal. I'm not exactly a sharing, open person. Sarcasm and helping others are my go-to's whenever the focus goes to me and my emotions.  I don't like dealing with them! Facts are my things. People can't hurt you with facts about yourself! Yes, I have two different size feet, so what? I can't do anything about it, so lets move on. But people can hurt you with your emotions, so why share? Because friendships are important!

Back to me finally opening up in Mexico, once I did, it made my time here so much easier. I had people who cared about me, I had people who wanted to help me, not just needed my help, but wanted to return it! I was able to share my burdens, which made them not be so burdensome.  But then the inevitable happened, and I had to return to the States. All those friendships I had formed down here were going to be, well not lost, but definitely loosened. I couldn't talk to the people down in Mexico about people and things in Minnesota, just like I hadn't really been able to talk to my friends in Minnesota about the people and things in Mexico. There is only so much you can explain, and only so much people can understand without living it themselves.

And then I realized, I had no friends in Minnesota. Yes, I knew several people, and would call the friends, but they really were no more than acquaintances with whom I'd had a few good times with. Many of my friends had gone off to college, and those who hadn't, didn't choose to stay in touch when I was in Mexico. Yes, everyone asked how it was down there and how I was doing, but after hearing, " It's great! I love it, and I'm doing well!" all they heard was "Blah, blah, blah, Mexico, Mexico, Mexico, Kids, kids, tacos, Mexico, kids!" And I have to admit, I wasn't any better. All I heard was "Snow, Snow,  Snow, Blizzard, Work, BLIZZARD!!!!!!!" Really, you guys in Minnesota don't talk about much else! I didn't know what to expect. Actually, I didn't think it would be that big of a deal. I knew I knew people at church, I was going to be working at the same place, how much could possibly have changed in 8 months?

What I found out was that things don't change. Everything was the same. But people do. My friends, who had been my friends all my life, were different people.  And so was I. While I had spent my time surrounded by poverty, they had been at college, with teenagers, working. All of those things give you different perspectives! Not necessarily bad or good, worse or better, just different. And so while everyTHING was the same, every person wasn't.  So not only did my world just change drastically, I found out that so did my friends, and myself! The things I had said that would never matter to me, would always matter to me, I would never do, or would do had all changed, and the people who had known me no longer knew me. They only thought they did. And when it came to light that they didn't, I was left behind, alone.

I do have to interject here, that much of this was my own doing. Remember my whole not open with feelings and sharing and all that crap? It doesn't really help matters like this.  So don't feel bad for me, or mad at my friends. I was just as much to blame as they were, if not more so. I was the one who changed the most, after all.

Being alone can be a terrifying thing to some. Me, not so much. I tend to be a lazy person, and when you have friends, you tend to do stuff, so I was quite fine on my own.  Need people? Whatever for? I never really got that. Well, I didn't. If you remember my big conclusion that I came too, it was that friendships, ie. people, are important. And I slowly came to realize this after a few months of being alone. At first it was fine, but then I had that day at work where everyone alive was an idiot, except me, and I had no one to explain it too. Then I had the day where I was the only idiot in the world, and I had no one to remind me of the day where everyone else was an idiot too. I had the day where everything was FANTASTIC, and I had no one to share how awesome my day was! I had the day where I had nothing to do, and I had  not a single person that I could call to talk with, hang out with, do something with. And then I had all these days several times over. And I began to feel the loneliness, the heartache. I went through Mexico withdrawls. I wanted nothing more than to return to my home where I was the person many turned to for help, and could also call many people up just to do nothing. But I couldn't, and so I suffered. In silence, which sucks. Seriously. While suffering sucks, imagine no one knowing you're suffering. Assuming you're fine. IT SUCKS!!!!!!!! Not being the person who shares feelings at all with complete strangers, and only barely with the best of friends, there was no way I was going to let any of my old friends know that I didn't have friends! HA! I was always the strong one, there was no way I was going to voluntarily put myself in the needy chair. No way.

But then one day, someone who didn't know me at all, asked me how I was. Asked me about Mexico. Asked me about being back "home," and really listened. I felt heard in the first time in forever. You don't realize how much you've missed something until you get it back. And, oh man, how I had missed it! I had a friend! It sounds like a joke, like its something funny, and it was, but at the same time, it wasn't. Not in the slightest. I started getting introduced to new people, and I started making friends! All of a sudden, I had things to do, places to go and people to see! I still didn't necessarily have the type of friendship where I felt like I could tell them anything, but I sure felt like I could tell them something!

And then I went through the hardest thing I have ever had to go through in my life. Harder than leaving Mexico, which was hard. I pray everyday that I never go through something even close to that again. And I had a choice. Could I trust my new friends to help me through this? Would I trust them with this? SHOULD I??? Who knows if they can be trusted?! Who knows if they'll continue to be my friends after they hear this? Or what about later, if I moved again? Would they still be my friends then? I so didn't want to ever have to go through that again. But I couldn't make it through that by myself, and so I let a few select people know. And then they prayed for me. They prayed for my situation. And there was no judgement, no pity, nothing like that. Just support. And I couldn't believe it. It was fantastic. I hadn't felt such support, well, ever!

For a long time, everything was great. I had friends, I had things to do, it was great. And then someone asked me how I was doing. Not about the situation, but about me. And it wasn't even someone who knew what had happened. I didn't even realize that I was still dealing with it, but she noticed. She cared. She asked.

I cried. I cried harder than I had cried in a long, long time. To have someone's focus on me, not because I did something great, but because I needed help, and I didn't ask for it, was astounding. I'm not the type of person who puts myself in the spotlight, and so for someone to notice that I was hurting, well, it flipped my world again. I learned that I could be vulnerable, that people could be trusted. But, I also learned not to build my life around them.

Now, I realize that that seems to be the exact opposite of what I've been saying, I really do. But what I mean by it is this, you must open yourself to friendships, but not limit your friendships to the ones you already have. Lets say I had based all my life, my decisions, my emotions on my 1st set of Minnesota friendships, I would have been SCREWED when I moved to Mexico. Not only then, but I would have been devastated when I moved back, and they, and myself, had all changed. I can tell you right now that I would not have survived what happened if it hadn't been for my new friends. But what if I only thought I could receive from the people I had declared "my friends," and been totally shut off when my acquaintance/friend asked me how I was? I could still be dealing with stuff from that!

So, because this is ridiculously long, and I haven't a clue how to end it, let me just summarize; You need friendships. They are essential. However, friendships grow, change, and evolve, and so do you. Its ok. Really.

Thanks for reading guys! It means a lot.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What is there to say?

I honestly don't know. You ever get that feeling where you have something to say, but you just don't even know what it is? Not like you can't find the words, but the topic? Yeah. That's why I'm up at 1:30 am without anything to say.

I just watched LWCC's commitment service online. I love that we have such a focus on volunteering this year. Its always been a big deal in my family. It started off because my mother had to volunteer in the nursery if I was to be in it. She then proceeded to make my dad join a ministry, and then myself and my sister. And I will forever be grateful for it. If it wasn't for volunteering, I do not know where I would be. I'm guessing I wouldn't be volunteering 2 more months at an orphanage in Mexico! And there is no other place I could imagine being right now.

Mexico has indeed stolen my heart. If not the country, then most definitely the people. I love the idiosyncrasies of the people here. To give and receive a hug and kiss from everyone every time you enter a place is pretty fantastic. Its rather refreshing to have appropriate physical contact with a person and not have to worry if it will come off as a sexual thing. I'm learning to appreciate the fact that my male friends will all but force me to walk on the inside of the sidewalk, away from the street, and that they will actually follow me home to make sure I get there safe (Its not like I haven't already lived here for a year and have been driving for several, its that they care, or so I tell myself whenever I lose sight of that fact). I love having 4 boys from 11-17 tell me that I have a squirrel face and that I have boy hair, because I know that with people they don't like, they would never have the audacity to say such a thing. They save the joking around for the person they know understands them, and won't simply jump to conclusions and offense. I love doing mountains of laundry every single day, and wondering how in the world is it possible for them to have gone through this many clothes in such a short amount of time. I mean, really? Everyday they use enough clothes to have me do laundry all day? How?!

There are so many more things I can think of that I love about Mexico, but I must remember that this would never have happened to me if it hadn't been for that forced "volunteerism" when I was younger. If I hadn't learned then that it was much more rewarding to give and bless, than it was to sit back and take, I never would have come here. I never would have met Stefi and learned my ability to make the most awesome faces, or been there to tell her she was beautiful, or hold her when she cried. I wouldn't have been here to comfort her brothers when she was kidnapped, or known to pray for her. I wouldn't have cared that Lino preached a service at church and then went and prayed for people and they got healed? Or that he got the second highest score on the big test in the nation, AGAIN (Way to go!), or seen the change that has taken place over the six years I've been coming down here.

I guess I'm writing about, well, why you should give your life over to God. I'm not talking about being saved, though that is pretty key, I'd say. I'm talking about handing over the reins. Letting Him make your decisions. Trust. Its a terrifying subject for many, but really? Who would you rather have making your decisions? The One who has the answers, a plan, and created all, or yourself, who, if you're anything like me, is inexperienced, often wrong, and in general, flawed? Personally, I think the only wise choice I've ever made was to give my decisions over to Him. Not that I don't take them back ever, or frequently, but truly, its the best decision I've made.

Because, if I hadn't, I honestly believe that I would have gone my whole life without being called a Squirrel Face. And who doesn't want that?

Thanks for reading guys! It means a lot.