Sunday, November 11, 2012

I Need Words

If you've ever heard of Gary Chapman's series of books about love languages, you know that he proposes that people feel loved in 5 different ways -- Gifts, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service and Quality Time.  I've come to realize that a very strong love language for me is not Words of Affirmation - but just WORDS.

I need communication in order to feel cared for, loved and . . . well . . . important.  It really hit home on my birthday when I received a phone call from someone I love dearly, but our communication has been pretty much nonexistent for the last 6+ months. It was such a relief to hear their words, to have that contact, to begin building back the ties that had been stretched pretty thin.

And, then, I received a birthday card from someone who I'd lost contact with -- not for any specific reason, it was just a series of events that made it hard to pick up the phone and reestablish contact.  All day, I was expecting to hear from this person in some way, as birthdays have always been important.  It wasn't until the end of the day, thanks to a postman who dropped the card in someone else's box, that I received the card.  I am so grateful, though, for the card that has opened up the doors again and I look forward to reconnecting.

That picture above is a dear treasure of mine.  I'm not sure you can read it, but it is the note my grandfather wrote to my grandmother and aunt the day I was born letting them know the news. (I'm guessing they were at work and school when he got the call.) And, I realize how in this day of text messages and emails how precious those written words are becoming.  Nate wrote me the sweetest birthday card this year, and I took a picture of the text message Colin sent me from Milwaukee. My mom gave me a card and the cover was filled with words, and she wrote in the inside that I was "her Word girl".

I crave communication.  And not just the superficial kind, but I guess I'll take that if that's all there is.  I  have a friend who said to me a couple weeks ago, "I don't think we have ever gotten together in the last 5 years without crying at some point."  She's right.  She's a friend who often knows my heart and has opened her heart to me.  She is a dear friend who I feel closer to the more we communicate.  I feel happier when we've been in touch, because I know there will be plenty of laughter in that conversation.

I received wonderful gifts that I appreciate for my birthday, and will put to good use.  But, the things that made me feel the warmest?  The note in my card from my sister, from my parents, from my sons, from my daughter. The pictures a friend posted as a follow up to her sweet words. Hearing my husband's voice from 2000 miles away.

My intensity sometimes scares people off.  I can remember hearing that I was "too intense" and that's why a couple guys I dated broke it off with me. But, that intensity and passion is what makes me an unbelievably loyal and trustworthy friend if we get to that point. And getting to that point means that we have contact, that we communicate, that we share what's important in our hearts. Thankfully, I met Bo who embraces that intensity, and also tempers it when necessary.  He is not intense, and doesn't crave communication like I do -- but we fit together in so many ways and he tries so that I never doubt his love for me.

I realized in the last couple weeks that as I've gotten older, sometimes I am not open enough to others. A couple people in my life that were on the outskirts made the extra effort to try and get to know me, and I realized that I liked them much better than my first impression led me to believe I would.  I think that I have been hurt in the past, and feel like my life is full, that I've been holding back on making the effort to make new friends.  That's one of the things I'm going to work on this year.  Because maybe if I had a few more friends, the ones I have now won't feel my intense need for words quite as often.

Back when I started this blog, I recalled a boy in college that said I had an "intense and ridiculous need to over-communicate."  He meant it as an insult. But, can the truth be an insult? I don't think I over-communicate, but it is definitely true that I have an intense and ridiculous need to communicate. I don't remember his name, or anything else about him -- but he did have me pegged.

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