I have a friend who is pretty isolated. She's had some rough times, and stays to herself in the hills. I count myself blessed that she is our friend, and she is like a surrogate mother to me at times. But I guess we can teach each other.
I have been ruminating on my encounter with the Christian homeschooling family, and my thoughts were clarified by a conversation with my friend yesterday. She told me that in her weekly trip to the post office, she met a man in the parking lot, and they ended up talking for a long time. He asked for her phone number and she refused, then gave her his and offered his church name for her to call to check him out (!). Pretty perceptive, I'd say.
She called me in a bit of a dither; not sure whether she was happy doing what she's been doing, or whether reaching out could bring joy into her life. I encouraged her to reach out, and said that I would do the same - I would try reconnecting with the family I met a few times and be open to the possibilities.
I called her this morning after starting Forrest Church's Love & Death. I read her a passage from the first chapter:
...death requires little courage at all. It is love that requires courage, because the people we love most may die before we do. Dare to love and we instantly become vulnerable...Love one another with all our heart and we place our hearts in jeopardy, one so great that the world as we know it can disappear between the time we pick up the telephone and when we put it down. ...
Every time we give our heart away, we risk having it dashed to pieces. Fear promises a safer path: refuse to gie away your heart and it will never be broken. And it is true, armoroed hearts are invulnerable. We can eliminate a world of trouble from our lives simply by closing our hearts...but it's necessary trouble...to avoid the risk of live is to cower from life's only perfect promise.
When I stopped reading, my friend told me that she had called him last night. I laughed and said that sometimes the universe keeps telling us something, and sometimes it smacks us upside the head. She laughed back and said that she found out that Sunday had been Friendship Day.
It was hard for her, but it ended up being a great opening conversation, with more to come. She told me that she wasn't sure what she had to give. I reminded her of how much she gives to my kids, and to us, and how much we love her and how much she loves us. She can't quantify that love - put it in a special box. It is transferable. If she can love us, she can love anyone.
Last night when I got home, my husband was in a really bad mood. He went to bed without seeing most of us for the whole day, and I went to bed angry. But in the spirit of risking my heart this morning, instead of holding a grudge and anger that isn't going to go anywhere, I hugged him, made sure he was OK, and told him to be careful today. We started out fresh, and I think he was grateful that I didn't make it harder.
Love is risk, but what's the alternative?