Several things occurred this past week that, to be quite honest, put me in a funk. I spent much of Monday running errands; dealing with traffic congestion, long lines at the few stores I had to visit, a mix-up at the pharmacy that required a 30-minute wait, etc. had me feeling rushed and a bit crabby by days’ end. I woke up in the middle of the night with a pounding headache and had trouble getting back to sleep, and on Tuesday, I was stood up by a casual acquaintance that had invited me to lunch at a newly-opened restaurant near my home. I ended up eating alone (I didn’t have her phone number in my cell), and shortly after I got home, she texted me, saying she had lost track of time chatting on facebook but was now at the restaurant — 95 minutes after we had agreed to meet. She ended her text with “I’m here — where ARE YOU?”  On Wednesday, I had a very minor routine medical procedure done, but it left me feeling somewhat groggy and out of sorts the rest of the day and much of Thursday. And once I got into my funk, I simply stayed there on Friday and even Saturday, reading books, eating chocolate ice-cream, and watching recorded television programs. To make matters worse, I spent quite a bit of time fretting about two inter-related issues I’ve pondered off and on for over a year: if/where/when I should move and finding a new job so I can relocate.

When my husband was alive, he was (for want of better word) my sounding board. If this week’s events had occurred over 3 1/2 years ago, I would have shared with him the frustrations of Monday, my hurt at being stood up on Tuesday, and any questions or concerns I was pondering. He wasn’t much of a talker, but he was a fantastic listener, and I often found answers or at least some measure of peace just talking through things with him (or maybe “at” him would be the better term).

Now, though, I don’t sit across the dining room table from anyone at the end of the day, rehashing the days’s events — good and not-so-good, soliciting their advice. In fact, I hadn’t told anyone I was stood up for lunch on Tuesday, only 3 people knew I had the minor medical procedure, and to be quite honest, I wasn’t going to share any of this here. Instead, I was planning to write a nice little post about facebook (pretty ironic, considering the reason I was stood up for lunch on Tuesday). But then I realized that what happened this week, especially this morning, is worth sharing. Let me explain.

Last night, I posted the following status update on facebook: “In a bit of a funk today — living alone just isn’t much fun some days.” Of course, that last part was putting it mildly. Several friends responded, sharing that they were thinking of me, etc., and I truly did/do appreciate each and every encouraging, caring response. I went to bed, feeling slightly better. This morning I logged on, checked facebook, and found a private message from a dear, long-time friend. In just four sentences, she lovingly reminded me to remember how several very specific, seemingly insurmountable issues have worked out in ways I never imagined possible these past 3 1/2 years. She reminded me to keep trusting God step by step

Cliched’ though it may sound, her words literally stopped me in my tracks. I realized instantly that I had gotten off track, that I’d lost focus. Instead of doing what I can do, taking one positive step at a time, making adjustments as necessary, and trusting God, I had allowed my focus to wander to things beyond my control. And as I lost focus, negativity entered in and worry took root. I needed that email; I needed someone to lovingly, gently remind me that I needed to refocus and get back on track.

Is there someone in your life who knows you well enough to recognize when you’re getting off track in some way, who knows the best way to tell you what you need to hear, and who is willing to do just that? Does this person share your belief system, whatever it may be? Do you feel safe enough in your relationship with them to open yourself up to them, risking vulnerability? I hope you were able to answer “yes” to these questions. Either way, though, please feel free to comment below, sharing your thoughts on this topic.