We moved to Boulder exactly 3 months and 2 days ago. I knew when we got here that this season likely has an expiration date, due to the nature of my husband's job. Could be a few months, maybe a year or two, possibly longer - we just don't know yet, which is a story for another day.
But that was a hard truth that kept rattling around in my head while I was unpacking all those boxes.
How long will my dishes get to sit on this shelf?
How long will my pictures get to hang on this wall?
How long will my heart get to feel at home here?
The temptation in times like this is to hunker down, to withdraw, to protect yourself. You know these seasons, like when you're moving on to a new job next month or when school is almost out. It's hard to put yourself out there, seems strange to try very hard, knowing that it'll be over soon.
Investing in a community requires courage and effort and the possibility of failure. It's hard work. But what's the alternative? Isolation? I know all too well that self protection only leads to loneliness and fear.
Chris and I talked about this a lot in our early days here and decided that as much as it was possible, we wanted to go for it. We looked for any opportunity to create new relationships.
Mom's Playgroup? Check!
Indian Color Festival in the Courtyard of our apartment? Why not?
2 for 1 burrito night at Qdoba with our neighbors? Obviously!
You name it, we tried it.
In Berkeley, we didn't do a ton of entertaining because we lived in a tiny cottage and never felt like we had the room. But our location has changed our perspective. Even though our campus housing apartment is still pretty small, we've had dinner guests and playdates and even hosted a Valentine's Day pancake party.
Because we're trying. We're building. We know we need to be known and loved so we're looking for ways to know and love everyone we meet.
Do we still miss our friends in Berkeley? You bet we do.
And even though we've met some awesome people here and are in the process of growing new relationships, that takes time. Time to hear their stories and tell ours. To share our real selves, to be known not for our introductory biographies, but for the flawed, messy, hopeful people we are.
So we're working on it.
I read this great quote by Jennifer Dukes Lee yesterday:
I love this! It's a succinct way to describe how to find community.
Want to be in a book club? Start one!
Wish you would get invited out to coffee? Ask someone to join you!
Feel like you need someone to pray for you? Tell them!
It's better than feeling sorry for yourself at home. It's even better than cloistering up with Mint Chip and your Netflix queue. I promise. I've done that too.
Like maybe yesterday.
Because this whole thing is a process, finding your people, giving of yourself. And I'm so thankful in the midst of all of it for Jesus, the friend who never fails.
What about you? Is there a place where you need to go first? I'd love to hear about it.