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Saturday, January 8, 2011

I'm a Needy Bleacher Sitter

We've never had cable but for Christmas, we got a Wii and upgraded our Internet so we could enjoy Netflix through our tv. It's been great. We're loving marathon sessions of Dirty Jobs, The Cake Boss, and Man vs. Wild. And let's face it, one or two episodes of Hoarders and the need to purge and clean overtakes me--so all this tv is a good thing--really.
Anyway, the other day I watched the movie "About a Boy". As the movie started I questioned my decision to spend an hour and a half watching yet another shallow Hugh Grant film. But a few minutes in I realized there was more. The basics of the movie: completely shallow, lazy self-centered man who doesn't think he needs anyone meets a troubled, loved but needy boy who realizes he can't count on himself and his mother. "There has to be three." the boy states early in the film. This isn't a romantic comedy, so his crazy mother does not end up falling in love with Hugh Grant--thank goodness. But through some tragic events, everyone in the film eventually realizes that they are not islands. We need other people.
Even as a little girl relationships took center stage in my life. I'm wired to seek out meaningful relationships. I need them. And although I know the last statement is true to the core, it seems hard to admit. You see, I like to think of myself as independent. Not an island, exactly, but maybe a peninsula. Desiring friendships but needing no one.
Yeah. That doesn't work.
When I'm honest, which happens once in a while, I know that I'm in constant, desperate need of soul contact with other people. Without it I whither up. Case in point: last month for at least two weeks I was close to despair over my lack of connection with those near and dear to me. Life got busy, schedules got crazy and community took a back seat to every one's kids, husbands, and obligations.
Referring to what her busy life with teenagers had become, someone recently said to me "I don't have friends, I have people I sit with in the bleachers." It wasn't true; she has friends. Real friends and I'm one of them. But I knew exactly what she meant.
Wednesday night I met with a few dearly loved friends. We talked, laughed, ate & drank...and reconnected. Honesty and authenticity abounded as we caught up on each others lives. I went to bed refreshed (despite the late hour) and content.
The next day, the next day, at my sons basketball game I arrived early and sat in the bleachers, alone. And that's how it stayed all night. The bleachers filled up. But around me, there was a 5 foot bubble. I didn't grow up here. I didn't attend this high school. I don't have family here. I'm not known here--or at least by this set of parents. So, I don't think anyone was being mean--they don't know me. But as I sat there, smiling at people, trying to seem warm and friendly, wondering if I had a booger hanging out of my nose or garlic-y breath that was clearly repulsive, I realized yet again that I need people. Whether it's the close, dearly loved family and friends and fellowship I experienced Wednesday night or the seemingly shallow contact at a sporting event. I need people. Even cheering for your kids means more if you're cheering with others.
We all need people. And if you think you don't, you're wrong. If you think you can handle life alone--or mostly alone--you're wrong. You can't. If you've been burnt in relationships and disappointed by people and think it's better alone, you're wrong. And if you believe in God and think it can be just you and God, you're wrong. He's given us others for a reason and purpose so that we can show His love to each other so we don't get swallowed up.
So, how will I handle the next basketball game? I'm not sure; maybe come late and find another lonely needy bleacher sitter.

**my posts of late are ramble-y. i thinks it's age. You may have also noticed that I use larger and larger font. Also age.


Miriam said...

I'd sit by you. Anytime, anywhere. But you did hit the nail on the head, I do "need" and sense the lack of interpersonal contact when life around me is far too busy...
Thanks, Patty.

IngridGrace said...

I also just watched "About a Boy" a few weeks ago, and like you, I was prepared to dislike yet another shallow romantic comedy, but the film was just what I needed to see that day.

Cherie said...

If only our kids went to the same school and were on all the same teams... then we could combine bleacher buddies with meaningful convo of the heart. What an effective use of time...which is so like us to worry about :)

a pilgrim said...

I just thought I'd say ... I really know what you're writing about here, today. It comes and goes in phases; it was gone when you posted this, but it's here now, and I just wanted to thank you, b/c remembering and re-reading this post did me some good. So, thanks.

(And thanks for your sweet comments on my blog, too - you're a blessing!)