Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Hello friends. I've met such wonderful people in my "virtual world" and it sometimes seems so strange that I can have so many friends whom I've never met in real life. And I have some friends in real life that check in here sometimes at the blog too. So I just want to say, "I'm okay." I know my last post was very uncharacteristic for me. I would like to say more about what was bugging me, but I feel that I would be betraying someone's confidence. Someone who loves me very much and who needs to trust me.

I will say that I have learned from past experience that when life is particularly grim, I need community. When I was widowed and pregnant and felt like I was wearing a badge of dishonor, I enrolled Eric in a parent-cooperative preschool as part of his speech therapy. Those parents probably saved my life. My "problems" were not ever part of a discussion, but just the simple act of being around other people in a structured way, helped me to feel connected to the human race. Otherwise, I would have been home much of the time, beating myself up emotionally. It would not have served my children or me very well. It really helped to see myself as part of a larger "family of man". It improved my perspective immensely. I think because I could see that everyone else wasn't doing things "right" while I was doing things "wrong".

It enabled me to see that we are all flawed and we are all doing the best that we can. Also, because it was a collaborative group, I was expected to participate. When my contributions were actually helpful, it really boosted my self confidence at a time when I needed a boost. We are all valuable, but when we are at a low point, it's hard to see our own value. Becoming part of something bigger than ourselves helps others to see our value and point it out to us! And then there was the simple issue of accountability. When I feel fine and life is humming along, my own motivation is plenty enough. When I am in crises (for whatever reason), it's hard to find any motivation to do anything. That's when being part of a group that is counting on you can be so helpful. It's not the feeling of "I'll get in trouble if I don't do X, Y, or Z", but rather, "I care about these people and I don't want to disappoint them or cause them distress." I think that's a rather defining feature of a "good group". You stay plugged in because the people there are important to you, not because of "ought to".

So, why am I writing all this? Well, I guess it's because I think that what I learned was really, really important to my growth as a human. And because of recent stresses in my life, I feel a need to get plugged into some community again. I love my crafty internet community, but I'm pretty sure I'm needing some face time with other people who might be in my same boat. The other reason I'm writing this is to encourage others to seek community. Think about your best classes in high school or college. Wasn't there a feeling of being part of something really great? Now that our lives have narrowed to where we see the same co-workers and family members everyday, isn't something missing? I've resisted before because I feel like I don't have the time, but I believe now that it's too important not to do. My health insurance offers a great class for parents of kids with ADD. I went to one session a few weeks ago and then dropped it because I felt like my presence here at home on Wednesday nights was too indispensible. Truth is, I'll be a better parent, wife, person if I'll step out and get some fresh perspective.

Blah, blah, blah. What a lot of talking! But really, ladies who read this blog, I hope you will remember this post. If life is getting to be too much, think about what I've learned. Join a night class at the community college, take a bible study, join a parenting group. I promise you that you will be glad you did.

Hugs to all.

4 friends said....:

  1. Yay. Good news and good advice, too. :)

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  2. Words of wisdom! Josephine

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  3. So TRUE. And, as much as I KNOW how important being plugged in is, how often I forget and need to re-learn. Thanks for saying this so eloquently.

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  4. Hi Bettsi, I just got a chance to read this post (somehow it had dropped through my bloglines subscriptions), and I have to say how wonderful it is. You've obviously been doing a lot of thinking on this topic, and I think that your advice to get out and get involved is great. I've been doing this, to varying degrees, and it has helped me immensely. I'm so glad that you've decided to go back to the parents group. BTW, I love the pictures of your corner too. The printer cozy is great!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!