She sat across from me at the table. I wasn’t sure why she wanted to have lunch. For the past couple years she’d been asking that we be friends. She said she envied mine.
But it’s hard. There are just too many unanswered calls. Too many texts that get no response. Too many canceled lunch dates.
As a single mom, I know she’s got her hands full with two of her four children still at home. And she does understand the challenges she handed them with her three divorces. But she’s trying to overcompensate by being super mom.
And I do think, considering her past, she’s wise to not date. But I question her insistence that she values the peace she’s found in being alone. Especially since she repeatedly laments how she’s not close to her family, and she has no friends.
So, I came to lunch. But until I saw her in the restaurant, I wondered if she’d show up. But she did.
I try to make her feel comfortable by sharing some of the struggles Tim and I had in our marriage. I don’t want her to feel badly that she’s divorced. I want to love her right where she is.
“Sounds like he was really selfish,” she says.
I back pedal. My intent wasn’t to degrade the guy.
“We were both selfish.” I responded. “Truthfully, I was as horrible and wonderful to him, as he was to me. In our forty years together, it was a draw.”
She sat up straight, drew in a long breath that puffed up her chest. “I used to be selfish,” she said.
I sit back kind of stunned. Because with no one in her life except her kids, who pushes her buttons? And since she stays at their every beck and call, they’re not pulling her trigger. So I wondered, what are her indicators to say she’s not selfish?
Because I just don’t think we’re to wipe out our struggles by isolating ourselves from difficult people. And if that’s the only way we can find peace, I think we might be doing it all wrong.
The bible tells us in Ephesians we’re to be completely humble and gentle. To be patient, bearing with one another in love. To make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
Looking back at the difficult people who have crossed my path, I see how those relationships changed me the most. And the ones I wanted to walk away from were the ones that caused me the most growth.
Because we can’t win the fight over our sinful nature, if we don’t get back in the ring. And those difficult relationships help to identify the areas where we need to change the most.
Selflessness never comes easy. And sacrificing our lives for others exacts a high price. But consciously bearing with one another, in love, changes us at our core. And if we don’t spend our lives incrementally laying them down, at the end, the only way we will have peace, will be to live alone.