We just moved to Boulder, Colorado last month from Berkeley, California and we miss it.
We miss the ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge and the park by our house where you could see the Golden Gate Bridge over the ocean. See what I did there?
We miss our tiny one bedroom cottage and the lemon tree in our backyard and a fridge that had a drawer just for cheese.
We miss flip flops and fleeces in February and being able to walk to the park without snow boots.
But mostly we miss the people. Our small group at church. Chris' lab-mates and his pick-up basketball team. My Friday morning mom's group and the Book Club gals. Our marriage mentors. Our next door neighbors who loved our kids like they were their own.
There are Skype dates and phone calls and status updates. But it's not the same.
It's lonely starting over.
A couple weeks ago I was pushing my stroller down the creek path by our apartment to the library, an excursion borne from a hopefulness that there would be some other mom at the library who would want to laugh and commiserate and maybe even plan a playdate. I was talking to the Lord as I walked and I told him:
God, I need a friend. Just one, someone who is easy to talk to and 'gets it', who knows me and loves me anyway.
And there, in quiet of my heart, I sensed God's sweet reply.
I turned that over in my head as I walked. God is my friend. He is easy to talk to, He 'gets it', He's always there. More than anyone, He knows me. And He loves me deeply. I believe all of those things.
But I wanted to argue with Him, to shrug it off.
Yes, of course, God, you're always there, but I need a friend, like a for-real person with skin and bones and a sense of humor.
But as I thought about it, I realized that for that day, in that moment, I needed to be reminded that though I feel lonely, I am never alone.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
Being lonely is not unique to moving. Even as established as I felt in my life in California, I often felt lonely.
Too busy to meet up with friends.
Too tired to make plans.
Too self-conscious to be honest about myself when I did make time for people.
Motherhood can also be lonely. Before I had my kids, I had a classroom full of students to teach, co-workers to bounce ideas off of, a principal to answer to. The days were full of social interactions. Now I find myself at home by myself with two tiny people who don't talk yet for most of my waking hours.
We all need friendships, people who understand us, who love us, who support and challenge us. God designed us that way, to want and need relationships. And I know for me, in this season of starting over, that those will come in time.
But we were made for God, to know Him and be known by Him. And He is with us, He promises to never leave us. On our loneliest days, in the moments where we feel like no one knows and no one sees, He sees us. He knows the joys and the hurts and the wants in our hearts. He stands with us, right where we are.
God, thank you for your friendship and the promise that you will never leave me. Teach me to turn to you in my loneliness, to learn again to enjoy your presence. And - oh yeah - please Lord, I could use some right-here-where-I'm-living friends too. Amen.