Danielle Macaulay TITLE-min

Lessons I Learned From Shelly Calcagno

As I delve into this blogging world, I meet more and more amazing women who are reaching other women via the world wide web like me. Shelly Calcagno is among one of my favorites, which is why I’ve invited her back to guest post. I love Shelly’s honest and insightful writing. And, this post of hers spoke to me. In fact, I almost feel as though I’m living what she described even now, and so thank you Shelly – I needed this one! I too, love entertaining and connecting, and it’s been way too long. I may just go blow up some balloons and call over some gal pals to celebrate the good things in life, even in the midst of the mess. Thank you also, for sharing the Blueberry Cake recipe that you’re “obsessed” with! You don’t know this, but blueberry and lemon are one of my favorite combos in baking! Perhaps I’ll make this for my party. Everyone, here’s Shelly…..


It’s almost the end of summer and usually once or twice a day I feel overwhelmed with guilt that I haven’t had anyone over to our house.
Since April.
No one.
You need to understand that I love to have celebrations and get togethers. I have cupboards full of party supplies, adorable chalkboard signs and lots of fun accessories guaranteed to help create a fun and cheery Pinterest-worthy gathering.
But now?
Those shelves have begun to collect dust.
Tinsel and banners stuffed away out of sight.
The party has been put away.
And I try to figure it out.
Why is friendship hard at this stage of life?
Why do I feel so alone?
I worry that it’s me, that somehow I don’t measure up anymore and it’s easy to go down that path of “not wanted,” so I refuse to park myself there. I know I have people in my life that I can go to, that care about and love me – and I them.
Then, I start thinking about this season of life. I remember sitting with friends a couple months ago after they had suffered a deep loss and we talked and cried and reflected about being in the middle. When we realize, we are the adults. Like the real ones after all these years. Suddenly we are watching those who we have depended on for our whole lives grow older and needing our care, while we are still navigating life ourselves and caring for those who rely on us. It’s a strange tightrope that we try to balance on, and my friend made a comment that I’ve thought about time and time again.
“No one told us it was going to be like this.” he said.
And he was right. No one did. Maybe because no one can really put it into words. It’s like a walking loss, with things slipping away a little each day. In the meantime, there’s work, and roles, and relationships, and family, and responsibility and all the things of life. And often we’re just left with a big chasm of guilt because we know that we can’t possibly do it all.
No wonder we hide away.
Some days all you can do is just stand in the gap and hold your breath.
So, I think about parties, and friends and celebrations and maybe I just don’t feel like a party right now.
And that’s ok.
So, I stop thinking about all the celebrations that I imagine are happening without me and I wonder if there’s just a bunch of us all sitting at home, a little worried about the future and fearful about the days to come. It could just be me. But maybe I’m not alone? And even though most days I just want to sit in my room and binge-watch Netflix, or hide away with my own little family, or sit out in my backyard and write – I need to do better. So, I’ve started to reach out because maybe it’s time for us all to make a better effort and come out of our hidden places and share life. Even when it feels safer and easier to be alone.
If you want to have friends, you need to be a friend.
As my momma would always say.
There’s no rules for friendship.
But I know we are meant for relationship.
It might not all be parties.
But neither is life.
And no one did tell us that it would be like this.
But we can decide that we need each other, that we can find joy no matter what we face and that we don’t need to walk alone.
Sounds like a good reason to have a get together.
Even just one.


Shelly Calcagno is a Family Ministry Pastor, author and blogger from Beamsville, ON. She has written a book for children called Tini’s Tangles and is currently working on a devotional for women. Shelly has created several animated series for children, and is a curriculum developer for both faith-based and educational programs in Canada and the US. Shelly loves sharing about family, creativity and pursuing a legacy-filled life. Shelly loves DIY projects, especially if they involve mason jars and chalkboard paint! You can learn more about her at shellycalcagno.com

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