When Sara and I drove out of Roswell at dusk on the last day of September, we left behind distinct, animate communities. We left behind our people. In a way, it feels like those communities are suspended in motion until we return from extended vacation. I know that’s impossible, but it’s easier to imagine that than to think about how they continue without us.
There were our work communities: I had a job, which I enjoyed with people I love and respect. I think about one or two of them most days at my new job and miss them. Sara had a rewarding tutoring gig that she agreed to leave so she could move to Texas with Anabelle and me.
And, Sara built a nonprofit from scratch with her sweat and tears and those of an immutable friend. We found a niche to call our own in the art-loving segment of Roswell.
Our church community, our fellow believers, our neighbors in Roswell, are our best friends. No one was quite in the same station of life as us, the newlyweds and then the young marrieds with a baby, but how rich their experiences and wisdom are to us every day still. They taught us how to be married, how to be parents, how to be counted on.
We know those communities we left continue making connections, and we are joyful in that—just as we are grateful for the new communities that will connect us with cherished friends, doers, human beings.
But, starting again is the pits. Is it because I am finally coming to grips with those miles we put between us and those communities? That those miles are evidence of the irreversible change we made by moving? Our desire to make one important change in our lives actually meant making a complete overhaul—the loss of community, the loss of a sure identity within them.
If I form a meaningful friendship here, is that forsaking my past, genuine community? No! But it feels like it. It feels like I’m closing a door difficult to pry back open, if it can even be set loose from its hinges.
But now I focus on this newly tilled soil where Sara and I are planting friendships with seeds of past communities. A regular pub night with a high school friend, the occasional ladies night with a DBU alumna, a meal with a ministry family from church camp days. In our church shopping, we’re looking to connect with people (like us and not) who we can support and be supported by.
There are connections out there, humming with potential. Standing in the coffee line with strangers. At baby boot camp. At story time, the park, yoga. In opportunities yet to be seized. Even in going to work, helping carry the load, making eye contact and listening.
There’s optimism here, yes. Optimism is critical in starting again, in building communities because this is hard stuff. It’s hard because we’re talking about emotions and insecurities, vulnerability and sacrifice on our part and on the part of our would-be friends. So, I will resolve to be humble and attentive, and maybe that will ease some of that nervous tension.
Will you be our friend? Let’s connect.