Spring. In the Denver suburbs, I recognize it by:
1. The first dandelion blooming in my weed-punctuated lawn - yesterday.
2. The first garage sale in the neighborhood - last weekend.
3. Weather that even by Denver standards is fluctuating wildly.
Friday I got caught in a sudden squall, emotionally. I was thinking about summer. Far too often summers are for me a time of desolation. Especially in the spring I tend to spend so much of my energy investing in projects (as if I'm too busy for relationships) that if or when a summer lull hits - church activities canceled, the people I know best off on vacation with their families or out having fun with their friends - I find myself suddenly, desperately lonely, and deeply frustrated with the patterns of a lifetime that put me in such a position, that cause me to choose it.
I had a good cry about it. A rare, but helpful response to my fears, failures, and frustrations.
If I'm honest: yeah, I am great at forming new friendships, lazy or cowardly about cultivating deep, life-giving relationships. But it's not that I can't, or that I don't know how. And having a close, deep, life-giving relationship with the Lord is not only a huge consolation, but a huge help. I am not so brittle or deformed as I might be; I do have, by his mercy, a warm, pliable heart. I'm not incapable of reaching out for help, or offering true and meaningful friendship to those around me. I'm just lazy, busy, distracted. More in the habit of neglect (of both self, and others) than of intentional, effective loving-kindness.
Well, repentance is an option. Forgiveness, healing, restoration, and power are available for the asking.
I laughed, looking through my email inbox(es) some hours later, to realize that while I was freaking out over the prospect of a lonely summer, more than a half dozen people are waiting to hear back from me, people who said, "Hey, let's get together!" And there are others who would be delighted to spend more time with me. Perhaps I'll make a list, set a goal, make a plan. That pit of loneliness? It's not inevitable.