Saturday, November 01, 2008

Survival Skills

It's a beautiful fall week-end. A little chilly, but clear and colorful.

My group of women friends is off at a lakeside cottage. I had planned to go this time -- spring and fall trips last year were out for me, due to illness in the fall and exams in the spring. But I'm not there. I've discovered that time spent in groups of people, even small groups of my very best friends, requires skills I have lost. Skills usually exercised without a conscious thought, apparently. But, for now at least, any ability I had to listen to and participate in a multilayered conversation with people saying and hearing and feeling different things, is just gone.

One of my friends said that she would reassure the others that I miss them, too, and that I'm not avoiding them because I don't think they can understand.

Well, yes, I do miss them. But, although they are my very best friends in the world, and have taken good care of all of my family over the past two months, it has never occurred to me that any of them can understand. I have a good imagination, but I'm not delusional. I am not staying away because people can't understand. (Although the fact that anyone might think so demonstrates the truth of the statement.) I didn't try to explain further. Sometimes even one-on-one is too much for me.

I may have lost my capacity for group interaction, but I am honing silence as a skill for negotiating the terrain of sorrow.

8 comments:

Stushie said...

Perhaps you could pray for the quiet, unassuming people in your community. They want to connect and belong, but they cannot.

In our church, we've been praying for the quiet people and over the last couple of years, singles (young and old) have drifted into our faith community. We cherish them, but we do not harass or embarass them. We are just thankful that they have found a trysting place.

Presbyterian Gal said...

A "trysting place". That's such a good description. There are none where I live.

Grief and sorrow burn furrow scars sometimes. I can't fill mine today and face the possibility they will never be filled. So I try to find ways to enjoy the winds that blow down through them sometimes.

(((((GG)))))

Lisa :-] said...

You know more about rich silence than most people. I think it is a skill, but it's also a place. I hope it is a sustaining place for you, and not a lonely, desolate one...

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Thank you for visiting my blog the other day and expressing sorrow for the loss of my brother. That such sympathy would come from one whose loss is still so fresh means a great deal to me. I understand your difficulty with social interaction right now. Grief demands so much energy, and it is a consuming that is seldom discussed.

I offer you and your family my prayers.

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

(((GG)))

Kathryn J said...

I think you are wise to recognize the limitations of your ability to connect with these people on that type of weekend. I'm also sad because I know how important they - the friends AND the weekends - are to you.

I'm also grateful to read that you do not expect them to be able to understand. A while ago, you expressed your frustration at those of us who said "I can't imagine." I can try but I'm sure I have no idea.

I hope you find some time to walk and experience the fall weekend in your own way. I hope you find some quiet and I hope you find some peace - even if it is just shards and fragments.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jan said...

That last sentence is stunning. True, too. (((GG)))

Althea N. Agape said...

How's your Sunday going?