Learning to Need Other People

For the last four years I have lived in Massachusetts—a thousand miles from my family, friends, and the place where I grew up—1,367 miles to be exact. I love it and I hate it here and it seems the divide in my heart spans wider and wider each year.

New England is beautiful and filled with culture and history. There is always something new to see and do. I love being close to the ocean and the mountains and all the beautiful old cities. I love living close to Darren’s brother and his family. I love the friends I have made here. But I miss my family and my home. I miss the Midwest prairies and lazy afternoons spent with family doing nothing but just being together.

Truth be told, and it isn’t easy for me to say, I am very lonely here. I’m lonely without my family and friends and that place called home—nothing fills that void in my heart because nothing and no one else can.

This week I thought a lot about being lonely. Probably because it was Thanksgiving and we were up with all of Darren’s family for the holiday and I was missing being with my family.

I thought about why I am so lonely here even after four years. I thought about why I haven’t built more friendships and community. Why am I so alone in this place even after all this time?

In thinking through all these things, I realized something about myself. I realized I don’t ever want to need other people. I already knew I’m hard to get to know—I’ve been told that many times. But I never realized the reason I’m so hard to get to know is because I don’t want to need other people or let them in. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I don’t want to look like I’m not all put together. I don’t want to look like I need help with anything or need to learn anything. I want to be in control and be fine all by myself.

Only I’m not.

I’m lonely. And I’m tired. And I’m tired of being alone and trying to look like I don’t need any help.

I need friendship, I need community, I need other people to help me find my way and grow.

I think about when Darren and I start a family and the thought of raising children in this place by myself scares me. I won’t have my mom. I won’t have my grandma or my sister-in-laws (except for the one wonderful sister-in-law I do have here on Darren’s side). I don’t know anything about babies or children. I don’t know when they’re supposed to eat or sleep or how to tell when they’re sick. And I don’t want to figure any of these things out by myself. I want—and need–friendship and community. I need moms and mentors who can help me learn the things I don’t know.

I need other people.

Like it or not, I’m not all put together and I can’t do everything on my own. And if I keep chasing people away by pretending that I’m fine by myself, then I will never be able to build the friendships and community I need.

So I’m learning.

I’m learning to let people in. Learning to admit that I am tired, and lonely, and I need other people.

I have this quiet prayer in my heart right now—that God would give me moms and mentors and that I would have the humility to accept their love and help when they come.

Because I need help, and I need people, and I’m tired of pretending I can do all of this on my own.

12 thoughts on “Learning to Need Other People

  1. People need you also. There are a group of women who need to have a friend like you, someone who will encourage them and laugh with them and accept them. I pray for friends and mentors who will be so blessed in having you in their life. Great post, a very courageous one to write. DAF

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  2. I think you’re dealing very well with a difficult problem. You come from a family, a community in which different people helped out in providing a wide variety of knowledge and talents. Suddenly you found yourself in a different environment, and I think it is quite natural for your to be homesick, and to miss those who were close to you and also provided quite a bit of support. You seem to be working with the problem, and reaching an understanding of how you might find that support in your new environment. Listening to you, I feel optimistic. It won’t be easy, but I think you’re going in the right direction. And I wish you luck and love.

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  3. Kari,
    You have no idea how much I needed this! I am very much the same way. I guard my emotions and vulnerability and really have a hard time opening up because of the pain it may cause me. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in the still being lonely after 5 years. Thanks for being honest and open!

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  4. If there is an area in your life where you need help, the Lord will put someone in your path to help you. We live by faith and not by sight. The Lord will provide for you and He will give you wisdom, if you ask Him. We are dependent on Him.

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  5. I believe with all of my heart that we do need other people in our lives. Our family and friends are gifts from God, and they serve as our mentors and encouragers as well as our correctors when we stray. Lonely people become bitter people. I will pray for God to bring the people into your life that will fill the voids. It would be wonderful if He chose to move us closer to you! But even if that doesn’t happen, we are still knit together..always. You are in my heart, my thoughts, my prayers always, always, always.

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  6. Kari, when I was in Maine with you guys I saw a mom who wanted so much to help you and be a part of your life. Her name is Barbara. I know you have different views on a lot of things, but she’s a mom and she knows all the joys and heartaches that come with it. Yes I would love to have you back here with us, I miss you so very much. When Grandpa died I decided I needed to move on and I have found the best friends anyone can ever have. I can pour out my heart to them and they to me. That was a really hard thing for me to do. I had surrounded myself with my family for so long and when they started lives of their own and moving away I thought my heart would break. Open your heart to people and even if some of them disappoint you there will always be someone who will stand by you and his name is Darren. I love you.

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  7. The most difficult part of the process is admitting you are not a pillar of granite, and that it is ok, no necessary, to need and be needed by others. That takes a certain humility, a willingness to take the risk of opening up a little bit, and knowing that some good will flow in, and per chance, some pain.

    Take it from an old, past Bay Stater, a New England stature of strength, that once the walls come down, life, both the ups and downs, is much grander!

    Good Luck

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