Wednesday, November 29, 2017


I've been thinking a lot about hospitality.  Before Thanksgiving, I asked around and posted on Facebook, to see if anyone didn't have somewhere to go for Thanksgiving.  I know how lonely it can feel to not be invited anywhere (at least, nowhere you really want to go).  But you know what surprised me?  On Facebook, I seemed to be the only one extending that invitation.  Most of my friends are Christians - shouldn't there have been a bunch of notices on there saying 'hey, if ya got nowhere to go, come join us'?

I think we've redefined hospitality in a very poor way.  We think of it in terms of having friends and family over.  And sure, that's part of it.  It's funny, 'cuz the guys in my men's group think I am very hospitable, in my own man-cavey kind of way.  But am I?  I mean, truth be told, when we get someone in the group that I don't care for as much, I'm not exactly going out of my way to make them feel welcome.  Sure, I'll smile and shake their hand and tell them there's drinks in the fridge, but I'll let the other guys strike up conversations with them.  Because I don't like them.  Something about them puts me off.  They're not 'my' kind of person.  So I'll go through the motions, but really I'm removing myself, not investing.

That's not hospitality.  And neither is throwing a party and inviting lots of people, but not so-and-so, because, you know, she'll just ruin it with her complaining or boasting or whatever thing she does.  Oh, and you just know that afterwards, she'll be posting on Facebook about how come she wasn't invited?

Well, yeah.  Because she's hurting.

In high school, there was a really annoying girl who was the younger sister of someone in our circle.  She was a little slow and socially awkward and super clingy.  And she would come up and grab your arm and hug on it and not let go.  And when I saw her coming, I would often quickly not be there.  And when she would talk to me, I would answer with a terse, annoyed response. Because I didn't want to encourage her to stick around.  Years later, I was telling a friend, and they asked me what would have happened if I had given this girl what she needed?  If, instead of pulling away, I had turned to her, given her a hug, and spent a minute or two talking to her and looking her in the eyes.

Wow.  I so wish I had.  And I don't know how much further I've come since then, but I'm trying to be a little better about it now.  When someone talks to me that I don't want to talk to, I want to pull away, but sometimes (not always) a little voice suggests that I stay there and listen.  'Cuz what's it gonna hurt me?  What - I can't take a couple of minutes out of my day to make someone feel heard?

Just something to think about.  We need to make time for the irritating and annoying people.  Take time to listen.  Offer a hug, unbidden.  Invite them to the party.  Because that's true hospitality.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

My Week of Depression

It's been a rough week.

Sunday night I couldn't sleep because my brain was spinning over work issues.

Monday, that continued and I got really depressed to the point that I was almost catatonic.  I've never felt that way before, to that extent.  Not crying, just kinda ... gone.  And nothing was working.  I prayed, went for a walk, wrote poetry ... don't know how I even managed those.

Tuesday was better.  I went out and did an inspection and while I was driving I came up with a plan for dealing with the work situation.  I emailed my bosses and they seemed cool.  And that night I had a breakthrough while talking to God about how desperately I need him.

Wednesday - more of a normal day.

Thursday was actually lovely - Thanksgiving with friends.

Then Friday, I had invited folks over to play games, but nobody showed up.  People said they were coming, but nobody did, and nobody called or emailed or texted.  The depression returned.  I wrote about it on Facebook and several of those friends apologized and explained some of the reasons they hadn't come.

Saturday, several of us played poker.  And it was fun.  And it's not like I was pretending to have a good time, but I compartmentalize.  So it's like I set the situation aside while that was going on.

But now I have to deal with it.  And I don't know how to deal with it.  One friend has suggested a depression support group, and I'm considering that.  Or maybe therapy, although I have issues with therapy because you're paying the person to care.  And the real issue is that I don't have someone to talk to.  I want to sit with someone, someone who gets me, who has time for me, who wants to make me a priority.  Someone who is safe, who doesn't flake out on me.  And I want to tell them things, like:

You know how my love language is quality time?  Well, the opposite is also true.  Several of my closest friends just told me by their actions that I'm not worth spending time with - not even worth a text to tell me they're not coming.  I know they don't feel that way, but that's what their actions told me.  Not to mention that my friends, who read my cry for help on Facebook on Monday, a few days later left me to sit alone waiting for someone to show up.  That's pretty shitty.  So now I feel like garbage.  But I can't tell them, can I?  I have to smile and say 'that's OK' and just move on.

What do I do with that?  I'm not clinically depressed, I don't think.  I mean, once in a while I have a day where I kind of fall apart and cry and think the world is falling apart, and then I'm fine again.  Don't other people do that?  I dunno - maybe they don't.  And I do get more depressed around the holidays, because I don't have anyone specific to share it with, and I'm often scrounging around, trying to figure out who wants to do Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas morning.  But again, lots of people deal with extra depression during the holidays. 

Sidenote: I have a friend who, at Christmas time, always calls me 'the king of Christmas'.  I'm not sure how this started, and I wish he would stop.  I've found Christmas rather depressing ever since my first girlfriend ruined it for me - there's a whole story about a crappy tree that she got me to buy that wouldn't stand up and how it messed up my Christmas traditions and made me feel like a poor loser, but that's a story for another time.  The problem is that the more my friend tries to project on to me that I'm some pro-Christmas spreader of cheer, the more it rings false.

Anyway.  I would say that I'm prone to depression.  But I work through it.  I dunno.  Maybe I do need professional help.  Wish I had someone to talk it through with.