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.


  1. Hey! I found your blog somewhat by accident. Actually I've been reading lots of blogs the last few months and must have come across yours through someone else...actually not exactly sure how I found it, but here I am. The reason I'm commenting is because I can't believe how similar our stories seem. Granted, I don't hardly know but what I've read here, but let me give you an example. I spent nearly 7 months living in Haiti doing missions. I came home to find that many of my friends were gone, busy, didn't seem to notice I was home, etc. Also it was hard in that I didn't know how to process my whole experience and not many people seemed to understand that. I also tend to be somewhat guarded, although you may not know since it seems I'm sharing everything with you, maybe I'm learning to open up a little more. But God has been incredibly faithful in sending me people just when I need them and also knowing when and how much trial to give me. It only makes us stronger right? I also had a difficult situation to come home to that not many people knew about and I didn't know who I could trust (see what I mean about our lives being eerily similar?). Anyway, I'm not weird. Just thought you'd like to know there's someone else out there like you. Also I love to travel, been to Europe, South America and lots of the Caribbean as well as all over the states. Oh and I have a little sister who gets a lot of grace as well. ;) And I get in these modes where I compare myself to her and wonder why she's had the "perfect" life. I guess that's all I wanted to say. Oh, I did also start a blog when I went to Haiti. I haven't posted on it in forever and it needs a lot of work so if you come across it just disregard. I don't know what if anything I'm going to do with it. But it does have some pics of cute kids I met while there. :) My favorite. Ok, that is all.

  2. Aww, thanks Bethany! You're one of the first randoms to read this, and I love that! Not that you're the 1st, but that this is actually being read by someone other than my mother!

    It's nice to know that someone else out there is going thru the same stuff as I am, though for your sake, I wish it wasn't true! Feel free to comment or contact me if you are feeling lonely some more! Us missionaries gotta stick together!

  3. Well gosh girl, thanks. I can't believe how long it took me to respond. My apologies. And don't worry about me, I've been doing so much better lately. Not to mention that I should not complain when I just came from such a devastated country. I truly have so much to be thankful for. Like new blog/twitter friends! Oh yes, I will be following you on twitter. I have a feeling this is the start of a beautiful friendship. Haha, I'm not weird, this is just how I talk. Weird, I know. Anywho, I want to hear more of your stories!! Where were you a missionary? Mexico, right? What did you do there? For how long? What's God doing in your life now? Ok, we don't have to keep talking on your blog. We can talk on twitter or email or continue on here or whatever. If you have time. I love connecting with people who have been through similar things. Makes it easier I guess. Later!