So Randy and I try to have a date night every Wednesday evening. Please don’t take this as super organization, or as how really good at focusing on our marriage we are, it started as a matter of necessity and we just fell into the habit.
Our kids go to youth on Wednesday evenings and since we live outside of town and have to drive in to drop them off and pick them up. We just stay and usually share a burrito at Chipotle for dinner. Last night we switched it up a bit and went to a pizza place downtown. Yes, I live in a small town now, and yes the picture above is of the downtown area for all my readers who are not K-State savvyJ. It is very picturesque with the limestone city hall, churches, libraries, shops, theaters and restaurants, even a cool art gallery and high class tattoo parlor (yes I have been inside, no I didn’t leave with anything though the idea intrigues me….) The only thing missing are antique stores. I totally don’t get that, but whatever.
ANYWAY! Last night as Randy and I ate at this great pizza place I watched across the street at a locally owned yarn and knitting shop. The lights were on and women were arriving instead of leaving. Not much is busy downtown Manhattan on a cold Wednesday night, so I know it was an event of some kind, maybe a knitting circle or a class. Can you picture it? Cold night, women scurrying to the front door bundled in coats and gloves, carrying knitting bags. Opening the door and visibly relaxing in the warm shop; hugging friends, settling around the table in the front chatting the whole time. It just looked warm and cozy, totally small town and heartwarming. And there I was on the outside watching this fellowship of women, mingling, interacting, and feeling a little left out. Do NOT misunderstand me. My family would look at me as if I had grown another head if I said I wanted to learn to knit. That is the furthest thing from enjoyment this impatient, clumsy fingered woman could ever picture. But a part of me yearned a little bit just to be included in something that warm, a part of a place. I’m not sure that even makes sense to some people. I don’t honestly know if it would have made sense to me a few years ago. I had a place where I had grown up, made friends, made connections. I knew a lot of people between church, school, family and community. I had roots with people. Then we picked up and moved here to Manhattan and I found myself alone.
I liked it at first, just putting myself into my husband and kids, making home and not missing crazy schedules. Then it got a little lonely. Not lonely as in alone, I have a great husband and wonderful kids, but lonely as in I missed the fact that I couldn’t pick up the phone and meet a friend for lunch or a soda. Or lonely in the sense that no one knew me, and I had to tell the same story every time I met someone new. From KC, Randy took a job here, kids in school, blah, blah, blah. Sad story I know! Now you’re thinking “What a whiner!!” And I really don’t mean it that way. I know there are people who start over all the time, moving ton’s more than me and people who are much more alone than me. I just had an idealized picture of what moving to a small town would be like. Friendly, lots of new Facebook friends, opportunities to know more people, and God really used it to teach me a lesson. Like a darned 80’s sitcom, my life is a lesson, who knew?!
I would meet women and think here is a person I could be friends with! We are so much alike! Only to stand on the outside getting the very clear message that “I have enough friends thank you very much, and I really don’t have the time or desire to invest in someone new.” OUCH! I think maybe…..perhaps…..possibly…….okay I know I have said those words in my head when meeting someone new in the past. I think I might have even said them out loud to a good friend. And there it is. I am totally confronted with who I am. Who I have been and it has come back to bite me firmly in the backside.
I know women need relationships with other women. It’s the way God made us. So when we have babies and sick kids and boy troubles and questions about faith and scripture and how to be whatever it is we are striving to be, we have someone with whom to share our burdens. I know that, but it is still so easy for us to be so wrapped up in our own stuff that we miss people God puts in front of us to grow us. I’m not comparing myself or situation to people who are truly outcast or on the fringe. This was just God giving me a nudge to actually see the women around me who might need a friend or someone to just listen. I don’t think God wastes any moment of our life. It is too fast and fleeting to let whining about what is momentary distract us from what we are supposed to be doing.
Another life lesson learned. Honestly I always though getting older would mean I knew more. What it really means is that the older I get, the more I realize how little I know, and how big my God is.
"Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul"
Proverbs 27:9 The Message
Proverbs 27:9 The Message