small talk, schmall talk

i’ve never been any good at small talk. i’ve always jumped in head first with people, and i found over the years that didn’t always go over so well… in fact i found a consistency of people backing slowly away reaching for the door. this was of course after i had poured out my life story to them in 10 minutes or less – and then stood, wide eyed expectantly awaiting their reciprocation… which generally never came. at least i’ve grown enough (and run enough people off) to know that while i can still share my story with whoever wants to listen, i no longer as a rule expect to hear someone’s story in return – nor do i assume they wanted to hear mine in the first place.

So much of my need to tell all was based in my incessant searching for someone – anyone to tell me something good about myself. The constant drive in me to be affirmed, validated, assured – whatever you pycho-babble term you want to call it… don’t get me wrong, i’m a big fan of psycho-babble. 🙂 i’m just not afraid to call a spade a spade.

10 years ago i was smack in the middle of my search. I was newly married, in the latter part of my 20’s, had no friends that lived within 300 miles of me and i was desperately trying to act like i wasn’t terrified that my life was spiraling down a black hole of irrelevancy. One of my biggest fears was that by the time I got around to doing music on any real scale, I’d be so old no one would care to listen anymore. 10 years later, i’ve learned not to fear such things because it just is what it is… but that’s not the point of tonight’s ramblings. i do have a loose point in me somewhere.

the point is i found people to give me what i searched for. and in return, i poured all i had into their lives, affirmed them, loved them, and as i grew into my true Identity in God, started speaking life and destiny over them… but that didn’t show up till years later. mostly it was just me pumping up hurting people, trying to wrap myself around their hurting frame and help them… trying to do for them what i wished someone had done for me. but just like it failed in college with the countless boys that rotated in and out of my life, it failed me in my late 20s. I failed to love them enough to do any real good, to do any more than be the little dutch boy sticking his finger in the hole in the dam to stop the leak, knowing the moment i removed my finger the flood would overtake us both.

So the Lord took me into the valley of the shadow of myself – a very scary place, i don’t recommend staying very long there – and he showed me how pointless it was… all the patching up and futile attempts at healing people’s hearts myself that i ran after… and He did a major clean up in my life, in my relationships and He brought me to the most lovely place of balance and health and freedom… then he set me loose to try again… and sadly, in shockingly short order, i found myself struggling to not be consumed by the same pull that led me into futility to begin with. and i still struggle against that pull.

i wonder if i’ll ever get to the point where boundaries are easy. i wonder if i will ever graduate and live in the place where other’s people’s issues don’t cause such intense stress and issue in my own life. I feel it. I feel it all – other people’s struggles – and while i don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that those are my own struggles, I fight it with anger still. I get angry when I feel that pull – when i am aware that someone’s insecurity is trying to draw on my strength – and instead of just saying, Jesus is your Source and sending them on their way to meet with Him, i still get all caught up in the middle and it deeply frustrates me and steals my time and precious energy.

see, where i used to have energy to sink into situations dealing with other people’s shortcomings, or struggle, or just plain old lack of growth, maturity and insight – I flat out don’t have it anymore. It’s all being used up at the moment. It all goes to managing my own emotions – where tears are always right under the surface. it shocks me every time i bust out crying when someone asks me how my sister is (although i don’t know why it surprises me) and i struggle AGAIN to answer such a complex question – that i really don’t have any way of answering anyway. not in totality and accuracy. which brings me back to – i don’t do small talk. so just as a hint, in case you wondered, don’t as a conversation piece, ask how your friend’s family member with a terminal disease is doing… because if you don’t REALLY want to know, don’t ask, and even if you do want to know because you’re just a caring person like that, be prepared for an incomplete somewhat convoluted answer. but to be fair i have to say the fact that i’m so maxed out right now, the fact that i just don’t have room for other people’s problems just rings of my inability to really let the Lord take my burdens and cares like He keeps telling me to… dang it all.

Did i make my point? Well, i think i was just saying that for years the Lord has been telling me to let Him be the One that heals and comforts and exhorts and releases… and I just get to love people and let His Spirit do the heavy lifting. I guess I’m gonna struggle with the finer points of that concept as long as i’m on the planet. I’m assuming navigating relationships will be a tad easier in Eternity. and hopefully in the next decade, i will come even farther than i did in this past one.

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