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#write31 Day 29 Connection

I used to work harder to find friends or just connect with like minded people. I used to give, give, give…initiate, entertain, lead groups, attend seminars partly hoping to create meaningful relationships. While I don’t regret all giving or pursuit of people in the past my actions did not necessarily lead to soul satisfying connections. As a giver, I more often than not I attracted takers, busy or superficial people, flakes. I would feel frustrated that my relational output did not match the input. Sometimes I would feel lonely despite being surrounded by people. Leadership can be a lonely place especially if you step into that role with an empty heart.

My relationships have changed in the last four years. I wasn’t super-intentional about making big relational changes. Something shifted though when we moved to a new house (same city) five years ago. I was pretty pregnant, standing in our new kitchen surrounded by boxes and 3 wild children running through an empty house. The boys were gone with the moving truck and one friend cleaned our old apartment but I was alone. Partially my fault since I had only asked about 3 people to help and none of them truly could, one stopped by briefly. I was thinking I’d like something to change.

A couple month later my youngest was born and shortly after four close friends moved away. I was about to do what I had always done which is start a new small group, join an existing one and so forth but something within me said. No. Not this time. You’re working too hard. Try something else. Do nothing. Just wait. Listen and wait for the next friend to show up in your life. Be patient and pay close attention. This felt so counter-intuitive but I decided to try something new.

Since I had three small kids we weren’t going lots of places, church and library for story time. I didn’t really connect with anyone at church but unexpectedly met a lovely girl with two young kids at the library. We ended up hanging out every week and remain close friends. Through her I met another great girl who gently pulled me into her homeschool community where I met other awesome ladies. Homeschool friend now educates my kids on the days that I work and I could not ask for a better person to invest in their lives. Also the three of us meet for breakfast every other month or so and we do our best to listen, encourage and love each other.

I am hardly ever on twitter but last year I briefly glanced at a blogger friends tweet which informed me of a writers conference in Portland. I went despite feeling rather elementary and untrained in my writing endeavors. It was lovely, encouraging time. The organizer is German and a published author and former journalist and we instantly hit it off. Besides organizing the conference she also hosts a monthly writing group where local authors or speakers share their thoughts or books and I always leave inspired.

Anyways, today she invited me over, my three kids in tow and I told her we’d only stay for an hour and a half. I baked plum pie because it makes Germans happy and she made coffee because all writers drink coffee I think. The kids admired seven tiny kittens, jumped on a trampoline, played hide and seek with her 13 year old and zip-lined through the forest while we sat on the couch and chatted lightly and deeply. Writers, in my experience, make lovely conversation partners. I was thinking again how hard I used to work at making connections and how easy and light I felt about connecting today. You are so approachable and easy to talk to, she said, and it felt like a huge compliment because I never mean to but sometimes can come across as standoffish. When I feel safe my guard lowers in five seconds or less and when I don’t you can pound the gates and won’t get far. Luckily most of my current relationships feel pretty balanced and safe. I am not saying quality relationships don’t require giving and hard work. I am only saying that I used to work much harder to find like minded people to connect with. Today didn’t feel like work. It was lovely, gracious, effortless fun.

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7 Replies

  1. Andrea

    Really enjoyed reading this post Astrid. I know how you feel/felt. I have felt the same before.

    1. Astrid Melton

      It’s especially hard when you move a lot and have special interest. You easily showed up in my life and I appreciate that!

  2. There’s something incredible rare and wonderful in those friendships that are easy like this!

    1. Astrid Melton

      You help me believe in more easy connections ❤️

  3. Tara

    Such a huge mental shift to not try to make relationships happen when where and how we want them or believe they should be. It’s fun to see the new and fascinating people and relationships God places in my life when I stop trying so hard and let Him do the work. So glad you had a wonderful, easy and meaningful visit with a good friend. That is worth more than its weight in gold and mood stabilizers in my opinion. 😉

    1. Astrid Melton

      Totally. I have found the same principle true with childcare. The harder I look for a person, the less likely I am to find someone great. The last couple awesome people just sort of showed up in my life. Pray and wait has totally worked for my relationships despite my bent to take matters into my own hand.

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