We have had five best friends move away from us this year.
It's been a year of transition and when my best friend Hannah told me that her and (Ike's best friend) Travis were moving to Michigan, I almost hid in her box labeled Christmas Decorations to be the gift that keeps on giving every year.
Change is hard. Transitions are messy. I have found that both are sacred ground.
I want to pretend I live a life like Monica, Rachel, & Phoebe and come home to my people everynight. I guess for me I love the thought of coming home at the end of the day to my closest friends, living & creating life together, but my life looks nothing like a Friends episode.
In fact, it is quite the opposite right now in this season of my life. Most of my best friends are scattered all across the USA and now many are moving to other countries. The only good thing I have concluded out of this expansion is now we can travel to new places and have a place to stay. ;)
I don't know about you, but most days I crave the T.V. inspired Friends community but in reality our community isn't patterned after the TV show where we are all the same age, same values or beliefs, same way of living, or heck even the same zipcode.
Our community is often times mismatched.
I have girlfriends in all different ages of life: some becoming empty nesters, some raising teens, some in the toddler\school-age kids, and some who are entering baby world. I have some who are not married yet or some who are married and have decided to not have children. I have some who are going through a divorce, others who are celebrating 20 years of marriage. My community is a myraid of pieces all looking for a place to be, a place to belong, and if I am honest, some don't look like they go together like I see so many others communities do.
This year I have struggled with the word community because I felt like I was losing a big part of mine.
Tonight I got a phone call from Hannah. She is moved in & telling me all about the new country roads she drives, the boxes that have been left untouched, & our big plans for family vacation next year together. She tells me things like God has a plan, you are gonna be okay, & I miss you. Things I really needed to hear and it's in that moment I realize how lucky I am to have this mismatched community. A community speckled around the world calling me, emailing me, or texting me. It is like what I tell my daughter: Eden, do you know that there are people all over the world that love you? How many people can say that?
This next season for me is going to be different. It is going to be new. Change is here. So, I am gonna put myself out there again and remember how special it is to have this mismatched community I once thought didn't fit all too well.
My mismatched community looks like:
- meeting intentionally with friends in the same town at the coffee shop because our lives rarely intersect in real life
- Snail mailing goodies to friends overseas
- bringing cookies to our widowed neighbor
- Going to the farmers market every Saturday and the vendors know your order\name
- mentoring college\high school age girls
- driving cross country to see an old friend and pick up where you left off
- online communities where you meet new friends who have the same interests
- Texting friends in all fifty states (pretty much)
- visiting the local Kroger and knowing the barista's name at the front lobby Starbucks
- Calling your family
- signing up for a gym class to meet new people
- going to a friend's house to watch and dissect the bachelor
- having a bible study with friends from different churches
- taking a new class on something you want to learn
- getting a swim membership and meeting new moms
Community is a buzzword we all desire, but it takes time and being brave. My hope is to be brave this year in changes. Who knows maybe later this year I will be singing I'll be there for you and finding that community is what you make of it & creating community is one of the best decisions you can do - mismatched or not.
Until then I will keep showing up in airports and texting late at night to friends who changed me and who I am thankful I get to love - near or far.