This week has been really hard for me. It wasn’t just one thing, but a compilation of a lot of things. I haven’t really felt like “myself” all week. It’s been a week where I spent a lot more time in tears than smiling. I’ll share a little of what has happened this week and then tell you some of the conclusions that I’ve come to about life.
On Tuesday, I received word that our dear friend, Karen, died. I knew her struggle with breast cancer had made a turn for the worse after her husband’s last update. My heart was broken – for her husband and her three boys. We had the privilege of knowing Karen and her family as her youngest and Adam was in the same preschool class as infants at Due West UMC. They were in the same class a couple more times over the years and we always kept in touch with their family. Even though we didn’t see each other a lot, we almost always caught up at Breakfast with Santa each year.
I’ll be honest – I’ve followed most of Karen’s journey from afar. We took meals to them a few times and delivered care packages to them. But most of the journey we watched from afar. I really thought I could hold it together for her Celebration of Life service, but not so much. It’s been a long time since I’ve cried that much. When we walked in and had an opportunity to speak with Kirk, the tears started and I just couldn’t control them afterwards.
Our church was mostly full for the service. Karen was loved by so many and as one of her friends stated on Saturday, Karen always made you feel like you were the most important person in the room. She had this way of always making you feel important, loved and cared about. It was evident that many people felt the same way about her. I only hope that one day, someone can say ¼ of the things about me that were said about Karen on Saturday. I’m so glad she is at peace now and no longer suffering, but I’m still sad for her family that is left behind.
I want to be the type of friend that Karen was to so many. It is something I will aspire to be. Over the past few years, I haven’t worked to maintain some of the friendships that I should have. I’ve let “life” get in the way too many times lately. One of the things I walked away with on Saturday was that it was time for me to do a better job and reach out to some of my friends who may be separated by distance.
The other thing that I’ve really struggled with this week is setting boundaries for me. I don’t mean “boundaries” in the typical sense of the word. However, I’ve found myself lately putting more of myself out over and over for people to the point where I’m letting them take advantage of me. I find myself doing this a lot at work. My response lately has been “I’ll take care of it”. On the small scale, this isn’t an issue. However, when it causes me to be working 14 hours days, it is an issue.
This isn’t only an issue at work, but I find it in social settings and with some of my friends. I continue to put myself out for people, and don’t always receive that same kind of support in return. I struggle over whether it is being a good friend/co-worker/etc., and whether it is being taken advantage of. I know it is a delicate balance. I guess the deciding factor is when it consumes too much of your thoughts and time. I have always been the type of person to go to the extreme for those I care about, but lately I’m beginning to wonder if I do this to a fault.
I saw this posted on Facebook earlier and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was speaking to me: “When you realize that you’re constantly treating a person a lot better than they treat you, it’s time to make a change”. I think it is time to change a lot of things so I can be at peace and be happy with who I am. I’ve written previously that I’m still trying to figure out who I am – but I think a large part of this journey is being content with the decisions that I make.
So as I start a new week, I am going to work to be a better friend to those I haven’t worked to maintain those relationships with. However, I’m also going to work to set boundaries on myself and my time. I will always work to be the best co-worker/friend/mother/spouse/daughter that I can be, but I am beginning to realize that it can only be done when you know in your mind where the “stopping point” is. Here’s to another week filled with learning…..