Friday, January 15, 2016

Abide: Friends

It's been 3 months since my best friend moved. Packed her 5 kids and headed west, taking with her the memories of our 21 year best-friendship. There hasn't been a day since that I haven't thought of her. We struggle to stay in touch through time zone differences and two very different ways of battling loneliness, and I think to myself maybe this is enough. Maybe my life is 24/7 kids and husband, with one hour a week phone call from her the only friendship I need. Deep down, I know this is my stubbornness taking root. Closed off defiance clinging to what was and refusing change. Although I know that what we have is and will always be irreplaceable, fear catches me.

After I attend a funeral and I glimpse my sweet friend Jen who I adore so much but haven't visited with in over a year (despite the fact she lives one mile away), I tap out a message. Hey - is there any way you could steal away for some coffee and knitting? And to my delight - she says yes. Although the weekend sees me sleepless in a hospital with my baby, I keep our date for Wednesday night. We laugh so much, we talk quiet about hard and desperate things, and I leave thinking - goodness, I love this woman. I do.

I know so many women that I admire. So many ladies who inspire me with their creativity and grit, who I would love to sit down with and figure out just what it is that makes them tick, what their dreams and passions are and how they are making it through this one crazy life that we all have with joy, strength and perseverance. Over the years, I'd discover them like gems in the various places I find myself. Church, co op, mops, even those I've known from childhood who have matured into women who intrigue and delight me. But in the stress and chaos of daily life here, I haven't made space. There hasn't been space.

A plan slowly starts to take root. Wednesdays have always been my sacred girls night. Before Mel left, a non-negotiable night with my closest friends. Before the taillights on Jen's car disappear into the snowy night, it hits me like a lightning bolt. Maybe its time to mix up girls night a little bit. Maybe it's time to make space for those people who I always wish I could see more of.

This year I chose the word Abide and I can see how this plan fits right in with that. These women, they are the hands and feet of Jesus on earth. I believe that. I've seen that. What better way to abide in His love for me this year then to seek out those who carry Him with them wherever they go?

I'm still not sure what form this will take, but I'm excited to figure it out. While I could easily, EASILY come up with 52 names of local women I'd like to spend a Wednesday night with this year (and many, many more. How blessed am I?), I don't want to completely stop attending my own little girls night with my own dear people.

When I wake on Thursday, I've got a smile on my face. For the first time in three months, excited at the prospect of getting out of my lonely space. For the first time, I allow myself to ask God - what shall I fill this space with? What do you have for me here?

So, I'm praying. And names are coming to me. And I'm just so.excited.

Abiding needn't be a lonely exercise in quiet solitude. Abiding just might mean diving head first into community.

I'm ready.

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