"We're all a part of one body, right? Well, you're that part of the body that brings all the other parts together. You connect people."
That was what a friend of mine from church told me on Sunday. I'm a connector. For a minute, I didn't really see where she was getting that idea, but then I understood it.
Anyone who knows me knows that second to my relationship with God, my relationships with other people mean more to me than anything.
I hate superficial conversation (and Southerners are the masters of "small talk"). I want to really know a person. Their stories. Their fears. Their passions. The things that make them who they are and what makes them absolutely come alive.
I want to be someone who gives others a safe place to let the hard stuff out, to let down the facades we so often feel the need to put up for the world to see.
I put 100% of myself into every single one of my relationships, even though I know other people won't always do the same.
Taking care of other people and loving them is what matters to me.
People often talk about "guarding your heart" and all that, and trust me, I've tried, but it doesn't feel natural to me.
I don't know how not to invest in people.
I don't know how to disregard others for the sake of taking care of myself, not even when it comes to sleep (and you know how much I love sleep). All of my friends know that they can call me anytime, day or night, and I will answer the phone. I will pick helping people over anything, even if it means I get behind on my own stuff.
I know it sounds crazy, but I don't know how to be any different.
The thing is, though, I really didn't know that other people took much notice of it. So for my friend to say what she did about how I'm a blessing to my church because my love of making connections with people actually helps bring everyone else together, that very well may be one of the best compliments I've ever been given.
After several rough relationship issues in the past year, this was just the confirmation from God that I needed to keep being me and doing what I'm doing. Because sure, I may get hurt sometimes, and that stings like hell, but in the end, I know that the benefits, for both myself and for others, make it all worth it.
This is part of who I am. And it's not going anywhere.