Last weekend I posted this on my OTM Instagram and Facebook page:
This is the full text:
Once upon a time, I was an extrovert, but that feels like a distant memory. The change may have begun as a slow draining away as we dove into parenting kids with lots of trauma, but our accident was the final blow. I’m not the person I was before.
Maybe it’s grief, fear, sadness – I’m not sure. I’m so bad at small talk now. I could have died, and my daughter did – I have little use for shallow chatter.
But I love people. I pray more, think more, write more. I fight my enemies of worry and anxiety. I think this may be the new me – no longer an extrovert but still a lover of meaningful relationships.
I’ve been changed by trauma and grief – I think about it every day. I know God has me in the palm of His hand. Nothing in my life, my mind, or my heart surprises Him. My world feels smaller and quieter right now and that’s okay.
So many women reached out on my OTM FB page and Instagram to say they feel the same. As messages poured in, I was comforted to know I’m not alone – not by a long shot.
I also realize this is a significant issue for so many of us.
As many women said, they haven’t lost a child, but there is grief nonetheless as they’ve gone through seasons of suffering.
In our circles this suffering may have come as the family you once were disappeared in the wake of parenting children with early trauma.
Suffering requires us to reach deep into our souls, and for many of us, to fall desperately at the feet of Jesus. Pain and fear drive us to seek strength and comfort.
This costs us everything, leaving everyday life seeming trivial. Who can think about anything extra when it takes everything you’ve got to get out of bed and muster the courage to be the mom you want to be?
So many things fall away as your life is pared down to the essentials.
Which leaves me with the question of how this seems to have changed my personality. I used to love being with people and would choose going out for coffee with a friend before staying home alone any day.
Now I crave time alone. In part, it’s the nature of my work. I can’t write when lots of people are around, and when I can’t write, I don’t get my work done. But it’s more than that.
I would never have dreamed I would need (and want) so much time alone. I find it disconcerting sometimes – who am I?
Things I used to love like book group, supper club, and Bible study seem too hard now. I avoid going to the grocery store as long as possible and find it hard to answer phone calls. Thank the Lord for texting!
I still love having a friend or two over sometimes; I want deep conversations. I just don’t have energy for much else.
An added factor is that I now have quite a few adult kids and communicating with them is high on my priority list. When energy for people is limited, they need a lot of what I have.
A doctor told me that the average 45 year-old man has zero friends.
I wonder how many real, authentic friends most mid-life women have? Or how many moms of kids from “hard places” have?
This post is more questions than answers. Do you wonder about this too?
Have you been changed by suffering? If you were an extrovert, do you wonder if you’re an introvert now?
Know that you are not alone, my friend. Fellow sufferers hold a special place in my heart.
I would love to hear from you. Will you leave a comment?
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