Friday, August 9, 2013

Friendship Community

Last week I finished 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. The book literally rocked my world. For lots of reasons. But the one that has been rolling around in my brain for the past few days has been the incredible ability Jen has for cultivating and maintaining awesome friendships. Without confusing things with the premise of the book (you can read that for yourself...and should!) Jen has a council of awesome women who are on the journey with her. She can seek their advice and support via text message whenever she needs it.

Doesn't every woman want that? I sure do!

After reading 7, I read Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed. Glennon writes incredibly honestly, just like her blog. She writes of her incredible relationship with her sister. I'm not jealous of that because I have a similar and equally awesome relationship with a sister that keeps me sane. She also wrote about her children running around the yard with her girlfriends' kids. She recalls going to college formals with these friends and now they live in the same neighborhood, help with each others' kids, and do life together.

With these two glorious pictures of friendship in community bouncing around in my head, I began to feel discouraged. My life is already incredibly full. Full of work, travel, an active toddler, friends, family, church, Jarrod's career, and a new school semester looming. I was overwhelmed. Will I ever have that kind of friendship community? The kind that spans decades?

No. I probably won't. I probably won't live in the same house for 30 years. I probably won't live down the street from my childhood best friend. I probably won't raise my children with the same core circle of friends in the same cul de sac. That's not the life of a Methodist pastor. We will raise our kids with the same friends that they see once a year at Annual Conference. ;-)

We will move. A lot. We will have lots of friends that we consider family in Louisiana, Cedar Hill, Dallas, Austin, Frisco, Florida, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Ohio, North Carolina, Arlington, Fort Worth, and beyond. We will introduce old friends to new friends, creating new friendships. We will be connectors. And I love that.

In the midst of feeling sorry for myself and coming to terms with our reality, I had a glorious day. I had a long (3 hour!) lunch with a dear friend. We talked about life, love, sorrow, theology, food, and finances. We laughed and we got teary. We planned another lunch in 2 weeks. I went home and unpacked a new table. A table I knew we needed because our large kitchen table wasn't big enough for all of our friends coming over for dinner. I assembled 2 lasagnas and one pasta dish for Jarrod, tossed table cloths on the tables, and set out dishes. Soon our house was full. 11 adults from various areas of our lives all comfortably chatting together. Three big girls and two little ones giggled as they played with our dog and cats.

We ate, drank, laughed, and prayed. Old friends met new friends. The food was delicious and our house was full of laughter. It was just the right amount of chaos. Our house was full but didn't feel crowded. I did the dishes while our last few friends lingered, chatting about life, theology, and the church. My heart was full.

I am incredibly thankful for our friends - old and new. I'm incredibly thankful for a husband who tolerates my desire to open our home to our friends even when it stresses us both out. I'm thankful for a little man who can sleep through chaos and who loves having people over.

Through all this I found it incredibly easy to judge what I know of my life against what I don't know about Glennon and Jen's lives. God reminded me that I need to examine my life and figure out how to life in a way that makes me happy and fulfilled. If I were to suddenly have everything I admire in Glennon or Jen, I would not necessarily be happier. I'm learning to find and create happiness in my own life - the only one that I have.

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