We had our second small group meeting last night. I was a little nervous because two women who hadn’t been there the first week were joining us. In the first week the four of us (Indy, Expressive, Sistah and me) bonded really intensely. For some strange reason total honesty about one’s struggles tends to have that effect! I didn’t want the two new women to feel left out and wasn’t totally sure how to ‘integrate’ the group. In addition, one of the women, Austin, is a new pastor in the church. I know as a leader myself how hard it is to lay down the caregiver role and be vulnerable. I fretted that if she came in and tried to ‘fix us’, it would destroy the dynamic we’d started the first week. The second woman, Relief Worker, wasn’t a worry at all. She and I jumped off the deep end the first time we talked, so I knew she’d be just fine.
Relief Worker did get a bit bug-eyed as we waited for the last woman to arrive. The intense laughter and chatter that Indy, Sistah and I launched into without seeming to breathe seemed a bit much for her. I’m sure that by next week she’ll hootin’ and hollerin’ with the rest of us.
For the group itself I went over the group guidelines again and the four of us reiterated why we need this group. Then the two new women got their turn. As expected, Relief Worker joined us at the deep end of the pool. Austin started off saying how she could totally identify with where each of us was and how the Lord has brought her to a place of knowing that there is always hope for every situation. My heart was sinking fast, please don’t preach, please don’t preach! But then she told us about the places in her where she’s being called to forgive and love (again) and is so done with that. Phew! The total honesty circle remained unbroken.
After all that we were running out of time. I briefly went through a (really fun!) game called Trace. It’s a tool for becoming more aware of emotional triggers, our responses, and what God wants to show us in the situation. I used my own circumstances as an example. Partway through I had a lightbulb moment about when and why I shut down and didn’t want to deal with God in some of my core areas. At the end we went around and prayed for ourselves. We did this last week and it was SO hard! Each of us have complete compassion for each other, but it’s hard to have that for yourself. Plus, if you’re avoiding Somebody, it’s hard to talk to Him!
I think part of my desire to start blogging was to have a place of honesty. To connect with my long-distance friends from times/places in life where I had such honest relationships. What’s been neat is that through the blog I’ve been able to extend the network of people who like to swim in the deep end.
What about you? Where do you find your deep end connections with people?