Friendship in the Tired Seasons

It was just a question at the end of a blog post about a soon-to-be released book—a query designed to build interest and get the conversation moving in the comment section.

For me, though, it set off a train of thoughts I rode for several weeks.

“When I think about friendship, I feel …”

Seems innocuous enough, doesn’t it? And why not? Friendship is a beautiful thing.

Yet, my immediate response—the word that popped into my head before I could stop it—wasn’t even close to warm and fuzzy.

“When I think about friendship, I feel tired.”

I’m blessed to have people in my life who nourish my spirit and encourage my heart, so it’s not my actual friends (near and far) who make me feel tired.

It’s the topic.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s an important topic—helpful, healing and encouraging. In fact, there’s a great book about it on my nightstand right now, and the one referenced in the blog post I mentioned looks wonderful too.

But I don’t want to have to think about friendship right now. In fact, I wish I didn’t have to think about any remotely complex subject at all (although recent events in the world have pretty much squashed that desire lately).

And there lies the real source of my angst. It’s not necessarily that I’m tired of friendship. I’m just tired, period.

I was feeling this acutely late last winter, back when the days seemed short and the darkness of evening was arriving much too soon. But while the calendar said it was still winter, the temperatures and activity in my flowerbeds indicated otherwise.

And I was not ready for that.

How did the early arrival of spring make me feel tired? I don’t know, but it did. Perhaps because I felt like my winter nesting period was about to be cut short, abruptly replaced by hot days and sleep-deprived nights.

Unwelcome weather patterns are not the only source of exhaustion in my life right now, however. As a result, I’m craving simplicity when it comes to almost everything, including friendship.

Maybe this is why I’ve always enjoyed cultivating relationships with my neighbors. They are just right there—on the other side of the fence pulling weeds, or in the front yard raking. Conversations are easy, even when we’re talking about hard family situations or issues with the kids.

Our friendships have grown over time, just like the plants that surround us in the landscape. It’s been comfortable, natural.

Friendship isn’t always like that, I know. Sometimes, you have to make more of an effort to connect, to learn about each other, to grow toward one another.

But it’s worth it. I know it is.

So right after I read the blog post with the fill-in-the-blank statement at the end, I texted a dear friend about getting together. She wrote back quickly—turns out she’d been thinking of me too.

The next week, over coffee, I told her about the friendship question.

Her response—which she formulated before I even told her my answer—was the same as mine. When she thinks of friendship, she feels tired too.

And somehow, just knowing that made me feel less tired.

Lois

Sometimes, you have to make more of an effort to connect, to grow toward one another. Click To Tweet

P.S. I’m linking up this week with Purposeful Faith, #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, Chasing Community, #HeartEncourgementThursday and Grace & Truth.

Photo by Molly Flowers


32 Responses to Friendship in the Tired Seasons

  1. Ha! I remember that blog post and I think we may have had a conversation around our similar answers at the time. (I think I may have said “pressured” or “stressed”) Making the effort to connect with others definitely takes energy. Sometimes I have it, and sometimes I just don’t. My prayer is that God would make me willing to be available and guide me to the people He has chosen.
    Blessings to you, Lois. So glad that you have chosen to be so transparent about this.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Yes, I remember our conversation over at (in)courage, Michele … I’m glad we can continue it here, all these months later! I appreciate your insights … I’m in the same boat when it comes to having energy, or not! I hope your week is off to a good start, my friend!

  2. Liz says:

    Goodness I feel it, too! But you’re so right. Friendship is worth the effort! I got a powerful lesson in that last week…too long to share here, but I’m thankful for your reminder this morning! Restful blessings, to you my blogging buddy!

  3. Brenda says:

    I hear ya, Lois. I think it can stem from wanting to “do right by” our friends–invest in the friendships–but busy family life makes it hard sometimes. I’m not surprised your friend had the same response…I do too, a lot of times. It’s always a comfort to know we’re not alone, isn’t it? 🙂 ((xoxo))

  4. SUSAN SHIPE says:

    Lois, I get it! Friendship can be exhausting but when one has the right friends – the kind that are low-maintenance and similar to yourself, it can be quite lovely and free! I’ve missed coming over here! I’m next to you in Crystal’s linkup today.

  5. I can understand. I have a few close friends, but the rest of it wears me out. Glad I’m not the only tired one!

  6. Ahhh, Lois. I GET THIS. I so want to connect with friends near and far, but time . . . there isn’t time right now. So I find myself in the conundrum of being somewhat isolated, but yearning for connection, but not having the time to make quality connections happen. Make sense?

    I so appreciate your transparency here, my friend. You are a treasure.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Yes, Jeanne … what you wrote makes perfect sense. Like I could have written the very same thing myself! This current season makes me even more grateful that we were able to connect in person this summer … what a blessing that was! 🙂

  7. Linda Stoll says:

    Dear Lois ~ I am so resonating with your insights, as ever. The whole weariness thing is what prompted me not to be racing hither and yon online in the month of August. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about my online friends. I did.

    It’s just that we’re only given so much energy each day. We get to choose what to do with it. And when other circumstances come to call and deplete us, we have to say ‘no’ to what formerly gave us joy.

    Even if for a season.

    And if people truly care about us, they will understand. And it they don’t? They probably weren’t the kind of friends that would have hung on to begin with.

    Grace and peace to you this afternoon, friend …

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Oh Linda … this encouraged my heart when I read it last week, and again just now. “If people truly care about us, they will understand.” Yes, that is so true. It’s a two-way street, this nourishing kind of friendship. Grace extended, grace received. Thank you for sharing your wisdom here, my friend.

  8. Such an interesting answer to that question, Lois. I think God meets us wherever we are with our answer. Mine would be, isolated. I’ve been too caught up in work to pursue anything other than online friendships lately. However, next week my in-person Bible study begins, and it should wipe out my feeling of isolation. Blessings to you, and may God grant you some rest! 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Thanks, Sarah. I understand your “isolated” answer very well too. I’m glad your in-person Bible study is starting this week … it does take extra effort to meet face-to-face, but that kind of nourishment is worth the effort, I think. 🙂

  9. I love how hearing her response made you feel less tired. Just because. I know what you mean about tired. I’m taking September to do a bit of self care, including seeing some old friends (and maybe NOT seeing some? 🙂 ). Because I”m realizing no one else can take care of me, but me. Some seasons we’re tired and need a break. And I think that’s okay?

  10. Hi Lois,
    Friendship is such an effort for me (after working all week) that I often feel it’s so much easier not to get together. I admire you for connecting, despite your feelings and realizing that we can have different types of friendship for different seasons of our lives. And I love it that your friend at coffee felt the same way you did! xo

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I know, Valerie! When my friend said the same thing, it was like a big load lifted right off my heart. I love what you said about having different types of friendships in different seasons of life … that is so true and so freeing! I’ve been thinking of you this past week … hugs, friend!

  11. Natalie says:

    What a refreshing post! It’s always a gifts when I find myself nodding with a deep sense of “me, too” when I read. I felt a little more hopeful, a little less weary at the post’s end. Thank you.

  12. Tara says:

    Life is coming at us continually. I think many of us find ourselves tired. At least, I know there are times (more times than I care to admit) that I find myself tired. Good for you for connecting with your friend. I need to be better about that too. Blessed to be your neighbor at Tell His Story this week.

  13. Trudy says:

    Hi Lois! These thoughts make me feel less guilty. It takes so much from me to cultivate or grow friendships. Maybe because I’m an introvert. Probably also due to how quickly my energy drains with this chronic illness. But yes, friendships are worth it. I’m glad to be connected again with you online ones after a summer break.

    You have been so busy and through so much with your mom, and I’m sure that reflects on your weariness, too. I hope things have settled some in that area. Take care, my friend. And thank you for making me feel less alone. Blessings and hugs!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I’m glad reading this post helped you feel less alone, Trudy. That seems to be a theme in these comments, and I feel the same way! I’m happy that you are out and about online again … thank you so much for your encouraging words and prayers. Hugs, friend!

  14. Lois, my answer was “sigh.” I think “tired” is more grammatically correct! Friendship is beautiful and a gift and worth it and everything you said- but spot on with tiring. And complex. It makes me smile and sigh (relief) to know that other people feel this way too while making the effort too! Thank you : )

  15. Lesley says:

    I feel like this too sometimes. Friendship is wonderful and we definitely need people to encourage us and refresh us, but it’s not always straight forward and it does take time and effort to grow a friendship well.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Yes, Lesley … and when you are already overloaded in other ways the effort can seem daunting. Lately, I’ve loved how God has orchestrated some “chance” encounters with old friends … a 15-minute conversation in the aisle of a grocery store can be a huge blessing!

  16. Hi, Lois. Oh, I get this. Growing friendships do take work. And yes, they are worth it. But yes — the tiredness. As I read through your post, different names came to mind. Friends I dearly love but have not made the time to be with. I need to do that. Have a great day!

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