Catching up on beautiful blogger Fiona Lynn pointed me to Sarah Bessey’s synchroblog on what is, as she puts it, ‘saving my life right now’. I’m a little late to join the conversation, but since I’m looking for ways to process all the newness in my life, this seemed like good practice. So, here goes.
These days, the crossroads of my life meet in a city of nearly 18 million people, and I hardly know a soul here. It’s a funny juxtaposition, really. I just left a town of 2,000 where it was hard to go to the gas station without seeing someone you knew. I’m actually mostly excited about this change in reality, but let me tell you, it’s a big one.
When I hear people speak of community and relationship and authenticity, I am at a loss for words. This will not be my story for some time. On top of that, relationships don’t seem to be my strong suit. I can be honest, but I’m not very good at trusting people, especially when I don’t know them. I love my husband, my kids, but I even have to remind myself to pay attention to them. It just doesn’t come naturally to me.
Strangely enough, I find myself jealous of women who trust other women, who find a home in the arms of sisters. I do have them – sisters – they’re just never close enough to touch.
- There’s my dear college roommate on the East coast, who walks her days out in honesty and brokenness. She leans fiercely into the hard stories that many of us would prefer to ignore.
- There’s my exchange-student-sister in Finland. We don’t keep in close touch with kids and jobs and oceans between us, but the memories of my year-with-a-sister ring sweet in my heart.
- There’s my soul friend near Chicago who will soon rejoin me in the land of the 18 million. Her heart sings in care of the poor, the downtrodden, and she inspires me to see others as they are, not as I wish them to me.
- Near her is a dear childhood friend who knows nearly every story of my childhood. We know each others’ lives, stories with no need for explanation. She’s also married inter-racially and we share the additional understanding of what it means to cross the lines between worlds.
- There are my military-wife-friends who travel the world, facing this transition far more frequently, graciously and bravely than I ever could. They walk bravely, hold their heads high, and forge through many-a-scary-new-place.
- There are my book-club friends in the aforementioned teeny town who dared to ask hard questions and not run from them. They valued words and thought and the stories in our hearts. (And man-oh-man, they were damn fine cooks! Yum-o.)
- And then there are the snippets of friendships I encounter through a blog post, a conference, a meaningful chat over sushi, a connecting conversation, a shared understanding, even a book. They are brief friend-moments in my life, but they remind me that I don’t walk alone.
I needed to number them to see how many there are, because in a time where I am one-among-18-million, it’s hard to remember. The memory of them, and the contact that continues – even over mountains and oceans – saves me. The honesty, the fierceness, the perseverance with which they faced life prove to me that perhaps there are people here in this new place who can do that too, and that maybe those people might be able to be trusted as well (once I meet them).
It’s all a little daunting, but I’ll perch on the shoulders of Fiona for a moment and stake my claim at bravery. I might actually grow into it one of these days.