In a previous post, (God's 2 By 4) I said that if you've felt like I've been MIA as a friend or relative, it's not because I don't love you. I've just been wrapped up in my own stuff. And I'm lazy. But since my diagnosis, that has changed for me. Now I live off of contact with my loved ones. And it turns out I have many more loved ones than I realized.
But I also understand that everyone may not feel the same way. If I haven't called you for 20 years, I can't expect to "pick up where we left off" unless we were very close for a long time. A few times, I have texted someone I had not talked to for a few years, and got the dreaded "Who is this?" response. That's not a good feeling. But it served me right for assuming I'd still be in their address book when we haven't talked for years.
A very clear example of this happened to me in the past few days. I had phone conversations with two people I love, and who I know love me. One conversation was nice, pleasant, and short. The other was fairly long, emotional and intense. I was surprised about the difference in the two conversations, because the two individuals I talked to are both very precious to me. But I realized that while I love each one the same, I have not had the same quality of relationship with both. One I watched grow up. The other grew up without me around. I can't expect to reconnect with the one as easily as the other. Or the other as easily as the one, to keep it consistent.
On the one hand, I'm paying a bit of a price for the relatively solitary life that my wife and I have lived. We haven't had many close confidantes. For many years, we didn't have friends or family members that we talked to every day, or even every week or month. If we stopped seeing someone as part of our regular routine, we've always tended to lose touch. That being the case, I can't expect warm fuzzies whenever I call someone out of the blue.
On the other hand, I'm blown away by the number of people who I do have that kind of relationship with. I just got off the phone with a long time friend and musical colleague. We did wedding gigs together for many years, but we hadn't talked for a while. A mutual friend mentioned him to me last weekend, and today is his birthday, so I decided to give him a call. We picked up right where we left off. It was a great conversation, and very touching. He asked me what he could do for me, and I told him not a thing. I just wanted to talk. To reconnect.
I'm very tempted right now to make a list of the people of whom this has been true the past several months. All of the wonderful friends and family members who have reached out to me, some of whom I hadn't talked to for years. Some of whom I have never met. But again, the internet would run out of space.
I'm making more of an effort at this than I feel like I ever have, and I hope it isn't too little too late. This is one big reason why I'm still so taken aback by the love I've received. I don't deserve it. I haven't given love in anywhere near the amounts that I'm receiving now. Who could deserve this amount of love? Mother Teresa, maybe? I'm no Mother Teresa. I'm no George Bailey either, but the whole town is coming out to help me anyway.
So don't be surprised if I call you out of the blue. If you don't feel the same connection with me that I feel with you, that's OK. I want to talk to you anyway.
I keep quoting myself, but I can't help it. From my post,"People." What will it take to convince us that people are more important than work, more important than money, more important than just about anything? I always thought I believed that, but I guess I wasn't convinced. It took a life threatening diagnosis to bring it home to me. I hope it doesn't take that much for you to really understand the truth of that, deep down.
That's why I really hope there's time to make those connections that should have been made long ago, and refresh those long standing relationships. It's time to reconnect.