Wednesday, February 12, 2020

A thought on my life here

I've been thinking about my life,
and how somethings are not straightforward and how 
my Husband, thank God, is my best friend but how I left Ottawa
where I had probably the most friends and community I ever had,
outside of 5 years in BC in my undergraduate years.
I have had, outside of my Husband, one friend for 3 years
who could come over during the day and who I could talk
to about things that really mattered; while she was not an 
Orthodox Christian, she is a Christian and we had a really good friendship.
She moved away twice since leaving here and now lives in the UK
with her husband and now one year old son.
My dear quilting-friend. 
I have a community here, various friends on various levels and 
obviously have various people over for dinner parties or a Saturday lunch;
and I am very grateful for this;
but I have few people who I can see during the day;
and my days are busy; it all is what it is. 
My work is at home, as in as a homemaker.
I have had to accept that in ways I will probably always feel
a loneliness and a sense of exile in my life; 
but I am also learning that this is part of life
and to keep loving others for who they are, for where they are and 
even if they can't be what I had before in terms of friends,
they are still ones to love, ones to be friends with and ones 
who care about me and who I care about.
My Husband says to me often a phrase he heard years ago:
one is not really friends until they have eaten a pound of salt between them.
As in many meals shared.  
And in where I live, where almost everyone works, everyone is highly scheduled,
and those with kids have a very different life with 'play dates' or such that had no
real reality when I was a kid, or perhaps when they (the parents of today) were children. 
So the pound of salt can take many years or, in many cases, never be had.
And that's just the way it is here.
I am thankful though for what I do have and that things are slowly building
in terms of community and that all is not lost,
even the grains of salt eaten with others, years ago...


Elizabethd said...

It is surprising what connections we make through the internet...not social media particularly but reading posts, commenting, writing etc. Some of my friends are people I may never see or meet, but they have something in common, an interest and empathy.

Pom Pom said...

What Elizabethd says is very true. There are beautiful and close connections via blogs.
It DOES take lots and lots of time to build friendships and you have such a cherished friend in your hubby.
It's so good to value friendship so truly, as you do!
You are my friend.

elizabeth said...

Elizabethd - this is VERY true. I often feel most heard by my blog friends - and it is here that I actually write thoughts - I use other social media - but - it's not the sharing of stories - in words - as much - so I value my blog friendship very much.

Pom Pom, awwwwww, that's really sweet, thank you. Yes, it really takes a lot of time to build friendships. and where I live (near NYC) makes it harder in various ways; everyone so busy; I don't know anyone my age who is home during the day UNLESS they have kids - which is not my situation - and even those who are home because of kids - none of them live nearby to me, more like over an hour a way...

Becki said...

At the age of 60 (nearly 61) I have often reflected on how few close friends I have. There are lots of people I consider friends, but most are not ones I'd call and go out for lunch with. There is only one friend (out of state) I call just to chat with. Job changes, physical moves, moving through life stages, dh & my personalities and temperaments - so many things I'm sure are at the root of why life feels a little lonely at times. I tend to think being something of an introvert makes it easier, but still... even introverts can have too much alone time.

I've always thought that having at least one or two close friends is a gift. What I value most is "being known". And really, in life does anyone have more than just a few friends who truly know them? And truly value them? On the flip side of that, there are people that I value, that I love, even... Whose funerals I will weep at. But do I truly know them? Have they taken me into their confidence, and allowed me to be their confidant? Some yes, but most no.

Relationships are funny things. We can feel close to someone for a period of time, then drift apart. Either physically or emotionally. I do wonder how people who don't believe in God handle loneliness. I'm not saying they don't, I just can't comprehend not believing in someone greater than me who cares about me. Who cares about all who hurt and are lonely. It's a mother/father love. My own parents are both deceased so I haven't felt parental love for over 20 years now. But to believe that I am known by my Creator brings comfort during times when I don't feel truly known by anyone. To draw close to "the man of sorrows" puts any suffering I experience into perspective.

As much as I can, I choose happiness in my life. And when being alone turns into loneliness, I try to think of it as a gift. A gift of time and place where deep thoughts flow (sometimes swirl) and then flow from. And, if I act on it, it can provide the springboard for reaching out to others who may be lonely. Or hungry. Or somehow in need of human touch. And in so doing, my soul is fed (or as Luke puts it, I am "blessed").

Didn't mean to type a sermon, Elizabeth. Your words just struck home and the words started flowing.

elizabeth said...


Totally not a sermon in my book (or I like them?!) I am so sorry that by my age you had neither parent; that is hard! only 40 years old!!! (I am 43 now)... I agree, I often don't know how people who don't know God's love manage the many hard things about life, the stress, the loneliness.... I think one of the things that is hard for me is that I am just so much of an anomaly here. I don't have to work (a huge blessing, my work is my home for my Husband and I) but I also don't have children + I never had a prolonged fancy job like various women I know here and I just don't have anyone nearby who really can relate to me on various levels of my life. I do have friends and it could be a lot worse - I wonder if accepting loneliness or one's situation is just part of the process of life and maturation... not giving up but also accepting...

Patricia & Fouad said...

Hello dear Elizabeth. I understand your post completely because I have felt these same feelings. It will be ten years since I moved to Southern California and left behind my friends and church family. But now, I feel that God has truly blessed me. I love my home here and I don't think I could ever go back. Because, things are never the same when you go back, anyway. My best friend is my husband, too. I agree with what you say about the children of today and play dates, etc. My children are grown up and that put me in a different zone as to making new friends. I now have my church friends, after a struggle to find a church, my Scandinavian lodge friends but God gave me an unexpected blessing. I went to a knit day at Purl Soho warehouse (yes, your NYC Purl Soho's warehouse is near where I live). I met two lovely ladies who get together to knit each week. It's been four months now and I consider them my dearest friends. It's a true blessing. At this point in my life, I too don't feel I have someone to chat with as a dear friend. My two dearest friends of 44+ years have had life changes and the dynamics are very different now. I have a very difficult time to accept change but God has given me the strength to accept the changes. We are both truly blessed to have the Lord to guide us and our dear husbands as our best friends. Although we've never met, I consider you a dear friend. Blessing to you dear Elizabeth. (oops, I'm signed into my other google account but this is Pat - Lilly's Mom...)

elizabeth said...

Pat: I knew it was you! :) Yes, things are really never the same when one returns; even from afar, I see how things are changing in Ottawa and what I had there no longer exists. I am so glad for your new friends!!! Yes, I think part of it really is, as you write here, to accept the changes that life brings including in friendships. I consider you a dear friend too!!! :) We are blessed!

Granny Marigold said...

Your post today has certainly had lots of response. I think it's because friendship is something we all struggle with. Especially if we have moved away from the area where we grew up. The older one gets the harder it is to establish a truly deep relationship. At least that has been my experience. I don't mind a lot of solitude but others find days alone almost painful. I find my blogging friends such an encouragement. I hope to keep blogging for many years.

E Helena E said...

Chiming in to say that these comments resonated with me as well. Thank you, Elizabeth, for making your blog such a cosy and warm place for us.

elizabeth said...

Granny Marigold - yes - I agree! It is so surprising that it is so hard to have that friendship we all desire! I agree also that my blog friends are truly some of my biggest encouragers!

E-H: You know I value you and your thoughts. I am so glad you find my blog to be a welcomed, cosy and warm place. That is just as I want it to be!

Diana said...

I understand loneliness and no time for friends . . . being a full-time caregiver for Jerry for all these years slowly but surely has seen friends who I thought would nevcer leave my side drift away, even though I continued to try to keep contact with them. After a while, I gave up. I can't form real life bonds because there is no time to be together with anyone except Jerry and our kids and grandkids here in town, and even at that, one of the family no longer makes the effort from their end (unless I initiate the contact). Caregiving is a lonely world, but it IS my duty as wife to be the caregiver no matter what. That's what I'm called to do. Sooooo, I guess I'm saying that my online friendships mean so very much to me -- YOU for one, whom I treasure very much. Your blog is so welcoming. I can see the effort you put into your home for yourself and Mr. Husband... as I said before, he must feel ever-so-blessed to have such a jewel as you as his wife. "She is more precious than rubies..." It CAN be hard not to have friendships, close friendships, in real life... friendships that are interrupted by moves and other things that happen in life. Things change, and that's part of life. Being 21 years older than you, I've learned some hard lessons on friendship, but I've also become more accepting of circumstances as I've realized that life is impossible to keep the same. God bless bless BLESS you greatly, dear Elizabeth!! I pray for you each day!! Much love to you from Kansas! ♥

GretchenJoanna said...

It is so hard to *feel* the reality of a loving friendship or any relationship when one rarely sees the person face-to-face. I often forget that when I can't hug and talk to my best friends and children and grandchildren, I can still love them by praying for them. I guess it's because it's by faith, not by sight, that I am not very good at it. And of course, God designed us to be social and to be in loving friendships with people close by! But... this world is not our home, we're all journeying, and I'm glad to be on the path with you even though we two have never had even one hug.