Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Finding friendship

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival."
- C. S. Lewis 

This picture is of my friend Sarah and I at my wedding rehearsal.  Sarah is one of my closest and dearest friends.  We first met in college at Auburn and she has been a constant in my life ever since then.  

College was a time of sweet friendship for me.  I had a group of really awesome friends.  There were 7 of us-guys and girls-who were really close.  I had such a blast those 4 years getting to know the awesome men and women God placed in my life.  After college I felt a little displaced friendship wise.  I didn't have a cell phone or Internet when I first moved to Knoxville so keeping in touch was a little hard.  I didn't have money to travel back to Auburn to reunite with friends at football games.  Rather quickly, a lot of my friendships faded.  And I didn't have new ones here to hold me steady.  It was a hard time.

Fast forward 2 years and I found my home church and it's awesome young adult community.  I was involved in a small group and formed some close, authentic, living the life together type of friendships.   And I thrived.  Being single makes a person have an active social life, I think.  My calendar wasn't the only thing that was filling up; I had people to talk to, pray with, cry with...people to go shopping with or take trips with. I have to say that that season of life, though filled with so many other ups and downs--was so blessed by the friendships to be my anchor through it all.

The nature of the young adult life though is that it is one that is always in transition.  Friends began to move away for jobs or to get married.  The number of close friends I had living out of state began to rival those I had within my same city.  I began to sense that lack of close friends who lived nearby.  Things got even worse once Dave and I got married.  I think it's natural for married people to hang out less with other people once they get married.  For Dave and I, that stereotype held true.  Two months after we got married Dave was in school full time and working and I was working 2 jobs.  We hardly felt like we got to see each other we were so busy.  A month later I got sick with a horrible case of mono that stayed with me for months (and even now has left me with some pretty chronic health issues).  I was coming home and falling asleep during Jeopardy (for those of you who aren't fans of televised trivia, Jeopardy airs at 7:30--an OK bed time for an infant and that's about it).  Our social lives really fell off the map then.  I was too sick to do much of anything other than go to work, and even that wasn't happening a lot.  Needless to say, we didn't get out much.  Dave entered his second year of school in a specialized program that was essentially a full time job during the day, followed up by hours of homework and studying each night. 

When we got married we had prayed about where to get involved in our church.  For whatever reason our church holds it as morally sinful for marrieds and singles to interact (that's an exaggeration, but for whatever reason they really try hard to push married people out of the single community groups--I totally disagree with it, but that's a tangent for another day).  Our options were to either join a married group or do something else.  We opted for the latter.  We never had a desire to join a married couple's group.  For one, a lot of our friends here were single.  We hated the idea of stopping fellowship with them simply because we were married.  We felt that the married community groups were a little clique-ish, and that we wouldn't fit in.  So we volunteered with students at our church, and that was fine.  It did not, however, do anything for our social life.  

We find ourselves now not only eager for community, but at a place where we can start experiencing it again.  Dave is 2 six-week clinicals away from being done with school (no more studying-woohoo!).  My job is transitioning and I no longer work 10+ hours a day.  We were excited to have all this newly created time to spend with our friends, only to find that we really don't have many friends here left.  Oh, we have a handful of people who we love and like to hang out with.  But by handful I mean, really, a handful (as in less than half a dozen).  People are busy.  People have babies.  Our very closest friends live miles and miles and miles away.  And it's hard.  

Making friends as an adult is hard, mostly for lack of an environment in which to find them.  Dave and I still don't desire to be part of a Couple's community group (to be honest we would be outcasts in them because we don't have children--I think they kick you out if you're not at least in your second trimester).  I ache for friendship.  My closest girl friends all live in other places.  And while I cherish every phone call, email, and letter from them, and while they are very much a part of my life--I am missing having women I can see and talk with on a weekly basis.  I am on a quest for friends!  Dave and I are beginning to discuss and pray through how and where God wants us to be involved in our church this next year.  I'm doing a women's Bible study this summer that hopefully will at least yield an acquaintance or two.  I hate losing friends.  And I hate waking up to this realization that I don't have many (it's an embarrassing thing to admit).  I'm praying that God provides both my husband and I with new friends here where we are.  Or that we can figure out how to kidnap all of our friends and relocate them to TN.  For now, we're trying to reconnect with friends here and keep an open mind about where God would have those friendships waiting.  

"Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song...I get by with a little help from my friends"-Lennon/McCartney


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