October 18, 2008

i don't know you anymore

today marks another good friend of mine who 'bites the dust' and gets married. my family moved to utah the weekend before 5th grade started. mrs. nielson's class is where i met a lot of the good friends i still have today. jenny is one of them. i remember the sports-fanatic jenny coercing all of us to play kickball during recess. when kickball was "so last year", it was flag football. after 6th grade, we moved on to lakeridge jr high ... three of the 'best' years of any person's life {please note sarcasm}. i won't bore you with the details of the more than ten years of friendship i've had with jenny, but i will tell you this: there is no friend more loyal, loving, or filled with light-hearted humor to be found anywhere on earth. jenny is one who has the purest heart I've ever been blessed to know. brandon, the man jenny married today, couldn't be more perfectly matched for my dear friend - even if he tried. their marriage is a beautiful, happy event.

what was not so happy to me was the realization {that hit me like a hard smack on the head} i made as i left the wedding reception: i don't know these people anymore. ok, let me back up and give you the background. when a friend gets married their reception can sometimes feel like a high school reunion. well that rings true for tonight's event. as a huge group of young adults stand around talking, i found myself in the very circumstance that defined my jr high and high school experience ... over and over and over and over and over again. i couldn't find where i fit in - literally and figuratively. i spent most of my time at the reception trying [too hard] to keep my spot in the circle and get my voice heard. i can tell that i've definitely grown up a lot since high school -- i probably would have hung my head depressingly and said "poor me" while having stopped trying. well, not tonight. never again in my life.

i kept up conversation and had a few laughs. i enjoyed seeing certain loved ones and giving them hugs. then it was time to leave. i was faced with this decision: go home or hang out with 'friends'. i made my choice easily. why in heaven's name would i prolong this experience? why would i want to keep trying so hard to be heard? why would i want to try so hard to make a person like me? why would i want to keep fighting for a few moments of attention?

the answer: i don't.

i'm done with the games. i have a profound love of people; for who they are and for their talents, abilities, and personality. they don't need to prove anything to me. why would they? so why - why why why - do i feel like i have to prove myself? now, i don't want anyone to comment on how i'm "just creating this" in my head or that i "just need to have confidence" because guess what! i do have confidence. yes, i have room to grow. but i am not a doormat any longer. i have self-respect and it refuses to let me take punches lying down.

i know that i am a daughter of God and that makes me special. forgive me if you hate the 'mushy' stuff, but that's what i do every single day: search for the 'mush!' i am a beloved daughter of a Heavenly Father who loves me. i have gifts, talents, abilities, love ... i am unique. yes, everyone else is unique as well. none of us are the same! this is something to be celebrated! we have so much we can learn from each other. we have so much to give and so much to gain. while i have this knowledge, there is no reason in the world to waste time trying to impress or prove myself. life's not about that, and i've spent far too many years doing it.

i don't know the 'friends' i ran into at jenny's reception anymore, but i don't think i want to. that ship has sailed. there are so many amazing people in this world. there are beautiful souls that need answers to prayer and i so very desperately want to be the instrument in God's hand who is blessed to answer some of them. life is beautiful! i'm not going to waste it any longer.