Saturday, March 5, 2011


I have a friend who calls about once a week. I have to admit when my caller id identifies her, sometimes I toy with the idea of letting it go to voice mail.  Her standard greeting is always, "Are you okay? I haven't heard from you for a while."
I never have a chance to explain how "we are" because she's ready with her list of things to share with me.
She tells me her son only visits twice a week. Her grandson only comes on Sunday to take her to Church and out to eat. Her granddaughter only calls about once every other week, and on her list goes. 
I spent almost an hour on the phone with her one day suggesting things she could do to help her loneliness. I suggested she call someone in the nursing home. She couldn't do that because even though she is healthy enough to live on her own in her own her home, she knew she was worse off then anyone of them. She was lonely. They have people to talk to. I suggested she read. She said you can only read so many books. And I think you get the picture.
Finally I said to her.
"You know what?  You're like one of the Israelites. They wandered around for forty years in the desert. Complaining about everything. They could have been across the desert in eleven days. You have manna every morning and quail every night."
I know my words fell on deaf ears, because she was thinking of what she needed to tell me next.
Before we hung up she said, "you just don't know how lucky you are. You have so many friends who love you. I have no one who cares and no one who ever comes around."
You have to be a friend to have one.
 I know she's lonely and alone. She's been like that all her life.
I think how many times I get stuck in that "woe is me" pattern.
I'm trying to remind myself to be thankful when I get an email from a friend telling me they miss me, or someone stops by the house with a plate of cookies. 
One of the neighbor kids brought me a bunch of flowers, they were actually weeds she picked herself. I stuck them in a vase and displayed them on the dining room table.
Thank you Lord for the weeds in my life.


Joylene Butler said...

I know too many people like your friend. It's wearing to be around them. And there seems to be so much guilt involved. Guilt for not wanting to be with them, guilt for bowing out. Not to mention how good they are at manipulating. And you're right, they aren't interested in how you are. They're the last person you'd call if you needed a friend. I remember my mum having a friend like that too. She'd come home after spending an afternoon with this lady and have to take a nap. When she'd call again, I'd try to talk mum out of going. I'd reason with her that she came home so exhausted. Her friend was wearing her down. Her reply was basically the same each time. "That may be true, but I can't say no. It wouldn't be right."

Today, I laugh when I'm in the same position because I understand how she felt. It's not about keeping score. It's not about being a friend to someone who doesn't know how to reciprocate. It's about doing God's work. I don't want to face my Maker and have to answer for this little things.

Great post, Katt. As always.

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Thanks Joy. I almost didn't finish this blog for obvious reasons. But I realized almost everyone I know has someone like her in their life. You are so right, they drain the life out of everyone around them.
Hugs to you sweetie

Carol J. Garvin said...

Very elderly, doesn't admit to being lonely but lives alone tho' is still quite active, outrageously opinionated, argumentive, manipulating, and definitely an expert at piling on guilt. Mmm... yes. ::pulling myself back to your post:: I suppose most of us have someone like that in our lives. I'm guilty of using my caller I.D. occasionally, because I'm exhausted after every encounter. But I think it makes me more aware of my blessings and the responsibility that comes with them to love even the unlovely. But, oh, it's hard sometimes, isn't it?

Kathryn Neff Perry said...

Thanks for your comments my friend. It is exhausting sometimes, but I know I need to be patient with her. I think the thing that bothers me the most is she will never change, and there's nothing I can do or say that can help her. She likes being "stuck" right where she is.
Hugs and blessings