I Don’t Want Ellen to be my Best Friend

I Don’t Want Ellen to be my Best Friend

Ellen Show

I’m also not interested in forming friendships with Liz Lemon, Leslie Knope, Tami Taylor, Mindy Lahiri, Ross and Rachel, Jimmy Fallon or anyone else on TV.

Why not?! 

They all seem like great people. They make me laugh or smile, and I get to see some of them fairly often. But guess what?

I can’t have a conversation with any of them. We’ve never taken a walk or gone out to dinner. I don’t know what happened during their week, much less know their phone number. We won’t ever go play tennis, dance around to my favorite music or walk the aisles of Target–just because.

None of those people will ever even know my name. Yet they’ve been invited into my home on a regular basis.

What makes me most sad is that these relationships with TV stars or fictional characters have sometimes taken the place of actual friendships and real relationships in our lives. Real friendships are messy and take commitment. Maybe it means leaving the house or planning ahead. Or being vulnerable and real…and you need to have a friend who will let you be that. It’s probably saying, “I care about you.” “Let’s hang out.” “How can I brighten your day?” and sometimes even, “I’m sorry.”

I most certainly watch TV. This is not one of those “throw your TVs out the window” posts declaring all television and entertainment evil. Ellen Degeneres is probably super great in real life. But I’ll never know. 

You know who I do have the chance to get to know? The people I interact with; the ones I see every week. From my neighbors to my co-workers, friends across town to friends and family across the country, those are the people in my life that I want good relationships with. I want to know their quirks and jokes, hear their stories and cheer them on as they pursue their goals.

Watch television, that’s fine, whatever. But make sure the biggest relationships in your life are with the people around you, the ones that can actually have a relationship with you, too.

Disposable Society

Disposable Society

Disposable vs. Longlasting | Moving Peaces

We live in a world of disposable things. Styrofoam cups, paper plates, plastic bags–you’ll probably find at least one of these in every house in America. While there’s a long-term option, these offer a certain convenience. No need to protect them, no worry of damage, no obligation or responsibility.

Every so often we “upgrade” our phones to get a new one. The longevity of one of our most prized possessions is rarely longer than two years. We don’t attempt to fix or restore, just get another. Same thing goes for your TV, vacuum, camera, furniture, clothes and likely countless other items.

We see and experience a lot of transition. We move more often and are greater distances apart. We hold more jobs in the first five years of our career than our grandparents had their entire life. We have the technology at our fingertips to “connect” with anybody at anytime and more options than ever before with how to live our lives.

But how does this impact our relationships? Our friendships, our jobs and our communities? If almost everything in our lives is replaceable, when do we learn to value, respect and cherish what we have? How do we shift our disposable mindset to long-lasting, committed relationships?

Instead of disposable, committed relationships means both parties pledge to make it work and work things out. The kind of relationship that starts great, but when something goes awry, you stick with it anyway. You decide to struggle through and mend what was broken. (Band-aid fixes and shallow apologies are far from real repair.) There’s trust and grace and communication, but when those fail, you try again. You see the value in what was and what can be.

Sure, a fresh start seems easier and has a greater appeal than wading through the mess. Yes, there are times when moving on is natural or absolutely necessary. But more often, I think we get scared. We protect ourselves from heartache by never really committing in the first place. We give up when it gets hard or complicated. We avoid the tough conversations or the truth. We write off anyone that has ever hurt us. We walk away, find someone new and then do it all over again.

Often, we want the ease and comfort of relationships, but none of the work. In the end, we have more acquaintance-level relationships than we can count, but no one we trust to share our hopes and dreams, fears and failures. 

Commit to the work. Agree to the hard part. Struggle through the awkwardness. Reach out with the truth or an apology. Find the middle ground. Be willing to open up and also ask questions. Invest, mend and restore. Build relationships but don’t discard them. Make the effort. Don’t give up. 

Torn

If you know me, you know I am often two to ten minutes late to just about everything. I can’t say I have a good excuse, but I can tell you another reason other than poor planning or laziness.

I wish I could be in two places at once.

Yes, I’ve seen A Walk to Remember when the girl has it on her dying wishlist and the boy has her stand on the state line (two states, one time) and no, this is not what I am asking for. I actually want to be two places at once. That’s the super power I’d ask for because no matter what, I always seem to be torn between a few people, places and things at once.

What if I want to go to lunch with a friend just as much as I want to clean the house with my husband? Or visit friends out of town as much as I’d like to spend a weekend hanging out with my neighbors? How do you choose between Skype time with a friend or a phone call from family? Which is more important, a friend in a panic or a friend you planned to be with months in advance? A new opportunity or an established friendship?

I want to be in all the places with all the people!

So I juggle. Not always very successfully, but I try. I don’t stay long enough in one place and am usually late to the next. I cram a full schedule because I haven’t kept up with everyone I want to, only to turn around and feel I haven’t seen a bunch of other people in far too long. I don’t know what to do or how to choose sometimes. It’s not because you aren’t important to me. If that was the case, it’d be easy. It’s that other people are important to me, too. I’m torn in different directions, and the only solution I can think of is being in two places at once.

At the Table

A table can represent many things. Meals, bills, homework, art projects and board games all have a place here. There’s a lot of community that can happen around a table. When meals are shared, conversation often ensues. It’s a wondrous thing.

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This is our table. I’m sure you thought I’d never actually get around to showing the inside of our home but here’s a glimpse, kitchen and all.

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Food can sometimes make me feel like an outsider sadly. I’ve gone through bouts of serious sickness in the past and have mourned the loss of several food types. It’s easier than it was at first, but sometimes it’s still hard to keep going. While I haven’t been sick as often or intensely, I have to keep with it. Crazy food restrictions are still there. Sometimes I want to throw all caution to the wind and occasionally, I have. It ends in mixed results ranging from seemingly no change to an onslaught of sick.

At first, our meals with others seem to revolve around what I can and cannot eat. It’s a good story but by the end of the night it can be pretty exhausting to relive it all again and go through all the ins and outs of it. When just about every meal you share with someone involves you talking about all of the things you can’t eat, it can get overwhelming.

So, while I’d love to paint this beautiful picture of all the table can mean in community, it’s not the whole truth. It IS a wonderful setting for community and many meaningful things have happened there, but it’s also a hard and painful place for me. Food has caused so much stress and frustration, both as a result of eating it and of avoiding it. It can make me feel so disconnected from people, whether it’s because my meal will inevitably be different or maybe even because I have to physically leave in order to find something else to eat since nothing on the table will work. Yet at the same time, people have rallied around us and have been so kind and thoughtful as we’ve fought to figure this all out. There’s really been so much love and for that I am so grateful.

In the end, the table is a complicated place. Community and relationships are equally complicated. People have shortcomings and insecurities that cannot be as easily hidden in real relationships. Ultimately, it’s worth it to share in community and come to the table.

Me + You

There is one relationship that I value above the rest. When we’re talking about humans, my relationship with my husband matters more (only God can trump it and I said humans here). That doesn’t mean I don’t care about what’s happening in the lives of others or can’t be friends with people. Quite the contrary, but when it comes down to priorities, he comes first. Over a job, over friends, over school, over hobbies, over other family even. Having a good relationship in my marriage is beyond important to me. So I will do things that might seem ridiculous to some if it protects my marriage—whether it’s setting aside extra time or saying no to a good thing sometimes. In a society that sometimes overvalues a career or “success” I choose my marriage.

I can’t say I always know best how to do so or have the perfect relationship. I wish this was the case, but we are imperfect people who have to live in love and a whole lot of grace. We have misunderstandings and disagreements. Well-intentioned statements go awry or maybe even less than well-intentioned words slip. Gosh some days it’s tough to figure out what the heck we should do in certain situations. Some days it’s the most wonderful carefree thing in the world. Regardless, we made a commitment to each other to stick together. Nothing is allowed to mess with that. I will guard and protect this relationship with all that I’ve got. Because this relationship matters the most to me. Plus, the better we are, the better our other relationships will likely be, too. So if I ever seem to talk to much about him or us, this is why. He’s my guy.

Nitty Gritty

Sometimes you’ve got to cut to the core. Go straight to the heart of an issue. Real relationships can’t be sustained on surface level weekend updates or meaningless buzzfeed articles passed from one to another. Those things are fine and good, but it’s not really real.

We all have life going on. Sometimes we go through seasons of pain and hardships as humans. Sometimes we have a lighter load. Either way, we need to be ready to go deeper.

Make it the right time, right place and right person, but you have to go there. You need to be willing to listen and support. Equally so, you need be ready to return the transparency. This doesn’t mean a social media unload where all of your friends can comment in panic. It’s a heart-to-heart with a friend who cares. Someone who’s willing to stand by you and help however they can. Find that friend. Be that friend. Live out that friendship. Let’s get real. Even if it’s hard.

Dreaming Dreams

The other night I got together with a friend. She recently relocated and is spending some time trying to figure out what’s next in life. There’s so many directions her life could go and it’s exciting. It’s also a mix of crazy and sometimes scary that there are so many possibilities, but it was great to hear she’s taking the time to sort it out.

Sometimes we’re encouraged to consider our dreams. To seek them out, to pursue them. I think it’s important to acknowledge and write them down and assess what you’re dreaming about. What’s also important though is to hear the dreams of the people around you. What are your co-workers aiming for? Where do your neighbors see themselves in five years? And what do your friends wish and hope and pray for?

I think knowing someone’s dreams and hopes and goals allows you to connect with them in entirely new ways. You begin to understand more of what makes them tick, why certain things can come as an excitement or disappointment. There’s hopes I know some of my friends have, but I don’t think I sit back often enough and just ask the question of what are you dreaming about?