The Little Things

Recently, I stumbled across this passage in fiction. I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.

Ah, that most glorious of chores. Taking out the trash. The fact that it could pile up with such astonishing, impossible speed depressed Kate…. But perhaps it wasn’t even that — the never endingness of the trash. What bugged her the most was that any person with two brain cells knew that taking out the trash was a man’s job. So her failure at finding a husband had, among other things, relegated her to a life of trash handling.

{As she walks outside with the trash, the man of her dreams just happens to be hanging out in her front yard.} And exactly as God must have intended for man to do from the beginning of time, he strode into the fog and took out the trash. She could have fainted at the romance of it.
Becky Wade, My Stubborn Heart, 176-77.

I told a doctor once that an example of how fatigued I can get is that taking the trash out to the dumpster can land me in bed for 1.5-2 hours to recover. His solution? Walk to the dumpster without the trash. Somehow I think he missed the point. It’s not that I need to build up stamina but rather that I don’t have the energy to accomplish basic tasks like taking a shower or checking the mail.

But, I’ve discovered an amazing thing. It turns out that most people don’t have this problem. It means that I can ask people to do tasks for me that are so easy that they wouldn’t even think twice about them. If I asked you to always put your last name on your comments, would you even bother complaining or asking why?? Probably not. Anything that takes less than 10 seconds I assume that I can just humor you.

Moral of the story: when I interact with people, I can ask them to do simple tasks for me. (Then I can faint at the romance of it all.) Or rejoice that I finally have the energy to take a shower because someone else lugged my groceries from my car to my second-story apartment unit. Or I can entertain my classmate Diana and her boyfriend for two hours because I can delegate trash removal to the boyfriend.

Of course, I’m not just a hopeless parasite. I fully intend to share what I have with my friends and to pay it forward whenever possible. But in the mean time, would you mind picking up some fruit for me the next time you’re at the grocery store?

Fainting at the romance of community,
Abigail

Thoughts on Best Friends

Selly Oak Hospital - Raddlebarn Road - sign - H Hospital
I’ve been thinking about friends a lot recently. I write about friends a lot, but I still feel lonely very frequently. I know that depression can make someone feel irrationally lonely. But I think there’s some rationale to it. Looking back over all my “friend” posts, I’m struck by how many of those friends aren’t the best friend types. Perhaps it’s all characterized by the recurring nightmare I have: what if I get really, really sick??? who’s going to be there for me, take me to endless doctor’s appointments, live with me in the hospital, be my advocate, etc?

In my posts, I’ve realized that there are multiple categories of people:
– awesome girlfriends who drop everything to spend the night or put thoughtful cards in your mailbox
– prayerful friends with open ears and patience: Timothy & Walt in particular
– advocates & friends within the medical community: people like Drs. Leo & Samuel and Elliot
– lifelong best friends who live an airplane flight away: Alana and Tabitha
furry friends such as Eeyore
not to mention the plenty of friendly people who I interact with in daily routine.


While I may not be alone, I don’t know that I have a solution to the hospital scene. The two awesome girlfriends are actually the only people I’ve had drive me to appointments here. But one of the awesome girlfriends just moved to California and the other one will be out of the town or out of the country until late August. Both Alana & Tabitha are visiting this summer, but otherwise I’m stuck with remote friends or people like Timothy or Dr. Leo who are great but not exactly BFF-material. Furry friends have a definite place in my life, but they’re not exactly BFF-material either!! Plus, what if I need to try on a bridesmaid dress (again)? What if I just want to have a movie night or cook with some of my friends? Who’s going to come to that?? Virtual friends aren’t that great for cookie parties.

I’ve been reading Rachel Bertsche’s MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend. In a lot of ways we’re really different. First off, I’m not a married white female (MWF). Secondly, I’m not an irreligious professional woman living in a big city looking for someone to wine and dine with. Thirdly, I do not have the time or energy that Rachel exhibits. 52 dates with 52 different people within a year? Is she crazy?

But I think the central line of the book still rings true. There’s something special about friends that live in the same place as you. There’s also something to be said for the fact that some women are made happy when surrounded by friends that are their own. And being able to be friendly to other people around you? That’s definitely a first step to become a person with best friends (BFF).*

I like Rachel’s intentionality. She is bold to meet new people, to venture into uncharted territory, and to invite people into her home. She’s willing to endure a large number of failed friend-dates in order to meet a real BFF. So many of us complain that it’s hard to have real life friends in this electronic world of technology. While that may be true, how many of us step out of technological bounds to meet people in the real world? Rachel writes,

It’s not that people are less civilized, it’s just that we think they are, and so we act accordingly. We don’t reach out unsolicited for fear of being rejected. We don’t talk to new people because we assume that they don’t want to be bothered. But as I continue to pursue friendships, I’m constantly surprised at how receptive people are.

It takes effort to make friends. After all, I only became close to Alana and Tabitha once I flew or drove out to visit them multiple times. At some point, we got to the point that we talked about everything together. It takes time to get acquainted and to feel comfortable being around someone. And there will be moments when people who should be great friends will let you down. But at the same time, good friends will introduce you to other good people. Timothy and Grace are moving in eight weeks, but, in the mean time, there are great people at their church that they are introducing me to. I don’t need everyone in the world to be my best friend. So perhaps new friendships will sprout where old ones are flourishing.

This long post goes to show that I’m challenged with this notion of friendship. As much as I want BFFs, how can I realize that practically? How can I be myself & be someone’s BFF? But I’m discovering that as much as study and intellectual exercise helps, we learn best by doing.

Refusing to be subdued by the fear of loneliness,

Abigail Cashelle

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*In case you’re like my dad and you don’t know what BFFs are, it stands for Best Friends Forever. Why Forever? Well the acronym “bf” (note the lower case spelling) is already taken by “boyfriend”. To distinguish, we say “BFF” & yes, we really do call each other “BFFs”.