I've had some strange reflections as a post-college-newly-married-and-relocated person. Why didn't my friendships from college seem to persist? I had known that every summer break, I'd gone the whole time without hardly hearing from friends, but for some reason I was really heart broken that I ended up with no close friends at the end of my college career, outside of my best friend, my husband.
This conclusion led me down an interesting stretch of questions: was I a bad friend? Did I know how to be a good one? How could I change & be a friend worth having?
I've wrestled with those questions for years now, as a no-longer-post-college-or-newly-married person. I'm now a mom of 3, 3 years & under. And I can exist on an island, so to speak. But my life is just.plain.better. when I let people in it.
I look back at college & before. When I was growing up, I thought that I needed to become independent, to be able to stand on my own two feet, to be ok on my own. (this has never been a reality for me, I'm certainly BLESSED to say the least). We moved often when I was little, and it became very easy for me to make new friends, but I didn't keep friends for more than a year or so, before another move necessitated new ones. My high school years were divided between two different cities as well. On to college. I saw others & how they existed in groups. I saw that as weakness. I didn't 'need' someone else to go with me to eat; I was very capable to go alone. I didn't need anyone to help me do almost anything. I wanted friendship, but I missed the blessing of 'swimming in a school' with those around me.
Our church has a really beautiful vision statement. I love our church.
"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you
not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."
1 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV
How strange that the answer to my questions from college hits me: I didn't need anyone, & in turn I wasn't needed. No give, and no take. I was closed off to really building friendship because I wasn't participating in community. and what a beautiful picture of the church, the body, the bride of Christ, as a group of schooling fish - reactive, responsive to one another.
I think swimming in a school is hard. I think the vulnerability of 'needing' others is hard. I NEED OTHERS! I need to share my life with others, and I need them to share with me. It is really easy to see on a day when I'm just about to be crushed by the weight of my day, and my sweet neighbor stops by, on a whim, and just the friendship & relief from my circumstance is healing.
The instagrams, the cell phone chats, the rushed-2-sec conversation. All so good & encouraging for me. But, TIME & FACE to FACE just cannot be replaced.
Thank you Lord for teaching me & showing me the strength in weakness, the value of needing others, and how you minister to me even in stay-at-home-toddler-isolation. Thank you.