The Changing of Linda

 

Three years ago, I was a lurker…a bystander of sorts.  I was content watching the parade and never quite being a part of it.  Some people want to have glory or or to shine brightly as the super star, yet I did not.  While I am competitive by nature, it isn’t about the victory as much as it is about doing something well and that quiet satisfaction of doing something I did not think I was capable of.  On the flip side, more than failure scared me.  I hate the loss of control and feeling like I can’t do something well enough, that I am not good enough, that I cannot change the wrongs of my circles, or that I cannot control events.

For 42 years, I didn’t cry.  Some days the tears would build and my heart would be full, but I lace up my running shoes and a wavery voice was all that gave me away.  I didn’t think I was strong; in fact, it was about control and keeping people at arm’s length because I was never sure if they could handle knowing the real me.  There are reason’s for that, but childhood is long ago.  The behaviors took root when I was eight and the self-doubt I had led to me not letting people in too close. I will never forget a friendship that ended in my 20’s because someone had bared her soul to me, yet I kept my cards close. I am not sure why because I considered her a friend, but when she ended the friendship it was because I never opened up. I did, but only to Phil.

 

The problem with investing everything into one person is what happens when they are gone? What lifeline is left? Faith carried me and faith provided though I was undeserving. People stepped up and carried me when my family was too broken to help. I couldn’t fix the hurts in me and my family hurt just as much. When my heart shattered into tiny shards that can never be repaired, the brokenness gave way to growth and need.

 

I started allowing people to see the real me. This Linda hurts and she carries an air of broken fragility at times. This Linda has holes in her heart where the beacons of light from the gift of the friendships offered when I had nothing to give except brokenness. As I peer into the mirror three years later, it does not escape me that I have changed. I have learned to be a friend. I have learned to have transparency and I have learned to be the hands that reach and the feet that go for other people only because I was schooled by too many people to count. There is no going back.

 

I simply cannot be the lone ranger or the island I once thought I was. More than that, I recognize that even if there is a chapter two, I need to maintain connections and friendships outside of one other person. While I think people always assume they have more time with the people they love, the issue is that none of us know. Even those who have time to say goodbye are often left without 911 friends. 911 friends are the ones that can be called in the dark hours of night. 911 friends are the friends who will come and sit with you and add their tears to yours. 911 friends are the ones that you show up for, also.

In marriage and in the daily crush of responsibility while I criss-crossed all over the globe following Phil and raising five children, I forgot an essential truth. People need one another. I need people and I need to be needed. The gift of friendship is in the giving and it is in the receiving. I am thankful that my lifelines came to me first because they taught me how.

 

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