Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I Am Lonely Guy

Our church has been going through a series about truly seeing what's around us. Opening our eyes, calming our schedules and being willing to really look. During this time, two men have been performing a skit called "Lonely Guy." Each week these two guys meet again onstage- really, crash into each other- and have an awkward interaction. They are both wearing sandwich boards- one that says "busy" and one that says "lonely." Predictably, the busy guy fumbles with his phone, mumbles something half-hearted in response to being reminded again that the lonely guy works at his grocery store and then goes on his way with the lonely guy staring after him. It all resolves when God intervenes and the busy guy truly SEES the lonely guy and they start to interact.

The first few weeks I laughed at this skit. I resonated with the busy guy- chasing my toddler around, too tired and frustrated to really see any opportunities around me and the men had done a good job keeping the feel of the skit light and humorous, even with its deeper message.

The final week, though? Something shifted. And I saw in the lonely guy the reality of my own life.

Just this morning I took my son to something called Wiggle Room. Held in our community center, it's a place for parents to bring their young kids to get out of the cold, let them play with different toys (and presumably, different friends) and just run around and get the cabin fever out. N and I have been trying to come every week since it started and have invited friends to come along. We had a few show up the first week but since then we've been on our own. Like we are most days.

Today I followed my son around and watched a lot of parents talking to each other. Mostly moms, a few dads and an occasional grandma. Their kids swirled around them, mostly playing well enough for them to have conversations with the semi-regular need to intervene in some kind of sharing debacle. I smiled at these groups of people. I tried to strike up some conversations with strangers. And it didn't really work. No one really talked back. I just felt alone.

As I leaned against the wall watching my ginormous toddler step on a kid to get to a toy, I felt alone.

As I chased him around, trying to keep him from knocking down other kids painstakingly built towers, I felt alone.

As I gazed longingly at people who clearly felt known and comfortable with the people around them, I felt alone.

I am lonely guy.

Bringing home a newborn baby in the midst of the coldest winter in recent years combined with hating to drive in snow, switching churches just before he came home and being a first-time SAHM was a tough combination last year. And when I reached the summer, desperate for human interaction, I realized that I had been dangerously sad. Tired. Alone. Dealing with post-adoption blues. Frustrated that this huge life-changing event on which we had waited for 5 years took place far away from our family and close friends. I spent the summer soaking in the amazing weather, trying to get closer to people I had met, hanging out with neighbors, treasuring time with my oldest during his vacation time. And I was determined that when winter came again, I would have a person.

You know who I mean.

THAT friend. The one you can call up last minute and who knows that all you need is company and coffee. Your house doesn't have to be clean and you don't need healthy snacks in your fridge. You don't have to have showered, which would be particularly helpful during this stage when my toddler thinks my shower time equals an opportunity for him to attempt to dive head first into the tub and crack his head open. The one who won't care if your kid throws his 5th tantrum of the afternoon because she loves him, too, and knows you are doing what you can to keep calm and make it through the toddler phase alive.  That friend.

As fall flew into the busyness of the Christmas season, I felt full. I was seeing friends sometimes, N and I were managing to get out of the house when the kids weren't sick and the joy of the holidays and visiting family loomed. I didn't really notice that I still didn't have that person.

But now? In the throes of deepest winter? I've got some friends. I really do. Lovely people. Friendly, inviting, welcoming. Most of them, like me, are pretty overwhelmed by the chaos of just getting their toddler from one end of the day to the next. And I enjoy my time with them. I do. I wish we knew each other better.

But I don't have that person. The one that makes life just feel easier. The one who knows me. Who knows that staying home is the hardest thing I've ever done. Who knows that sleep deprivation turns me into a maniacal human. Who knows that crying makes me uncomfortable and that I can't eat sugar. And BOY did I want to eat me some cookies after Wiggle Room today.

So, while I am going to continue to keep my eyes open and look for opportunities to SEE and love on people and try to get to know some of the people I already know better, I am also going to pray that someone, maybe "busy guy", will be keeping his eyes open for me, too. And that when I try to strike up that random and somewhat painful conversation at the next Wiggle Room, someone will see me, too.

And maybe, just maybe, by next winter I will not be lonely guy.

No comments:

Post a Comment