Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My life as a dog....

A friend is like a flower,

a rose to be exact,

Or maybe like a brand new gate

that never comes unlatched.

A friend is like an owl,

both beautiful and wise.

Or perhaps a friend is like a ghost,
whose spirit never dies.

A friend is like a heart that goes

strong until the end.

Where would we be in this world

if we didn't have a friend.

- By Emma Guest

While I was editing these photos that I took at the park today, I was thinking about how to include them on my blog.

I thought about some cute little stories I could tell of friendships I had as a little girl.

I thought about telling you about Bren and Miss K and how they have a love/hate friendship at this point.

"I'm the prettiest Princess!" one of them would say.

"No, I am the prettiest. You can be the step sister!"

The conflict usually resolves itself with one of them suggesting that they could be twin princesses and all is right in the kingdom once more.

When I found the above poem I thought it applied pretty well to friendship in general, while allowing me to include that cool photo of Bren in black and white with the buttercup in color.

But as I thought deeper about the subject of friendship, I realize how very vital it is.

It's a painful thought for me right now as I am beginning to feel pretty isolated.

I do have lots of great people that care about me. I have friends all over the country.

I've even got a few in Washington state that I appreciate so much.

But, if you've ever moved to a place where you didn't know a soul and every face is a stranger, you might know a bit about what I'm starting to feel.

This is the first time David has been deployed this soon after we have moved to a foreign place.

When we moved to Georgia in 2004, he deployed a few weeks after we got there, but it wasn't the same.

We were moving back to Georgia. I already had a support base built in there.

I wasn't alone.

Everything was familiar.

Right now my heart is longing for familiar.

There is nothing quite like being able to pick up the phone and call a girlfriend to run out for coffee, go see a chick flick or go for a pedicure.

(I've never actually called a friend to go for a pedicure, but it sounds so fun, doesn't it!)

Having local friends to call on and to share everyday life with is such an important thing in the life of a woman.

Nothing can replace the security of knowing that if you run out of gas somewhere, there is someone you can call who would run out to rescue you.

Something as basic as having a friend's name to put on the "emergency contact" section of your kids school registration form is really and truely a gift from above.

I am really struggling with why God has not brought the friends into my life here in Marysville that I began praying for last year.
We've been here for almost two months....
Where are they, God?

Each time we move, my approach toward meeting people is a little different.

When we moved from my very full, friend filled life in Georgia to California in 2001, I would describe my approach as being like a labrador retriever on the beach.

Picture that wet dog, tongue hanging out, running full speed toward a group of ladies walking along the surf.

If you know labs, you know that they don't just saunter up calmly, gently, with their dignity in tact.

Nope, they come full throttle,
putting it all out there and then they usually pounce on their target with unrepresable joy.

This was me.

I threw myself into friend making situations like my life depended on it.

When we moved back to Georgia, I would describe my approach as relaxed, kinda like an old comfortable family dog.

I felt like these people were my people.

I knew exactly where I fit in immediately.

No pouncing and bounding needed to be done.

I was home and was accepted right back into the hearts of the friends that I had missed so much.

When we moved to Rhode Island, I knew it would only be for a year and David would be home the whole time, so my approach was kinda like a basset hound...
totally approachable, slow and steady.

Not a hint of desparation involved.

I met other moms at activities that I would take Bren to.

I would smile and be friendly and having this little exhuberant person at my side who chatted up anyone she met really made breaking the ice easy.

Here in Washington,
I am just a mixed breed mutt
standing behind the chain link fence at the pound,
wagging my tail excitedly at anyone who passes by,
but then curling back up into a ball when they walk away.

I think the biggest factor in all of this is that in those other towns, I still had my husband home, and when I didn't have him there I already had a support group to fill the void and come along side me.

I didn't have to sit alone in a big church where I don't know a soul.

I didn't have to long for adult communication.

I didn't have to find my way around a strange town full of strangers.

Don't get me wrong, my life is full.
I have four busy kids who keep me on my toes.

Running the house alone is certainly time comsuming and I'm happy and thankful for what I have in my life.

But, what I would not give for one girls night out!

For a night of laughter and familiarity.

To be able to relate and bounce things off of other moms who "get it".

The thought does come to mind that God is up to something here.

He knows that I am a people person.

He knows that I thrive when I am active in the lives of my friends and them in mine.

He made me that way, so I can only guess that He's got me isolated for a reason.

That is both scary and exciting at the same time.

Letting go of my wants and desires and relying soley on him for the friendship I am longing for is unfamiliar territory for me.

I've always had other women in my life for face to face encouragement and companionship.

God was always a part of it, but he was never the sole source of my daily filling of life giving face to face friendship.

I've never been this isolated before, and I know that he is just waiting for me to throw up my hands and let him fill me up.

But it's the letting go of the longing for earthly things that is hard for me.

I feel like I need human face to face friendship on the local daily living level


but if there is one thing I know well it's that God has his own time table
and I can trust him in all things.

I know he has already hand picked local friends for me,

but I've also considered the fact that he wants me to know him as my only daily living source of friendship for as long as it takes for me to fully let go and not need that earthly friendship so desparately.

And that's a scary, scary place for me because I don't enjoy being lonely.

None of us do.

But I know that on the other side of this isolation lies not only hand picked earthly frienships,

but also a true understanding of what it means to rely soley on my creator

to meet every single need that I have....

and that, my friends, is worth the fear
and worth the throwing up of my hands in surrender
and worth risking loneliness.

If you know my God, would you pray for me?

Just pray that I let him be the friend He wants to be to me
and that I have courage in the journey.

And being the impatient sanguine that I am,
could you also pray that He hurries up! LOL!!

Just as a disclaimer,

I am specifically talking about local friends here.

Think about all the things that you do with the friends who live within 20 minutes of you.

Spontaneous mall runs,

impromptu meetings for lunch,

park days with the kids,

attending Bible study together....

Those are the things I'm missing so badly.

Like I said, I do have alot of friends who I love and adore all over the country
and whose phone calls and e-mails help to sustain me.
I don't want any of you to feel like I'm discounting you.
I appreciate all of you so much!
I'm blessed in that I've experienced close local friendships with some of you because now without it,
I know the precious bond I am missing!


April said...

Oh my heart aches for you! I have been there a couple of times in my life. I will certainly be lifting you up - that God would provide all that you need and want!

I love reading your blog. You have a such a fun writing style. I love the post about Penelope!!

Laura said...

I can totally relate to this.

I have alot of people who I can call up and chat with, or who I share in by passing emails or talking on ims. But as far as people to hang out with in this town, yeah not so much. So that feeling of being alone is there all the time.

I moved alot during my early teens and its funny I seemed to connect more so with people in other towns then my own.

Well you know we all love you and if anyone who knew you could be there in a second just to take you out to go shopping, hang out anything, they would be!.

Christy said...

The emergency contact. Who DO you put on there? That was always a stressful thing - but a way for me to weed out the friends from the aquaintances! I admire you, and I feel for you, and I will pray for you.

Eckmama said...

I am praying for you!

Katie said...

I love your blog Becca! And love seeing all the wonderful pics that you post :) Take a look at my blog...I have a special award for you...

Cathy Hengst said...

Just found your blog Becca and LOVE it!! I will be praying for you. It is very scarry to rely on GOD for EVERYTHING! And it sounds like you are doing just that. As hard as it may be the end result may just be something you never imagined and more!


Mo said...

Such insight and faith you have.

I will ne adding you to my prayers to our God.

I wish I lived closer. Having a support network close to you is a blessing. I hope he brings yours to you in due time.

As a former navy wife, I get exactly what you are speaking of and my arms are reaching out in a loving (hug).

Rebekah said...

Not only do I know what you are talking about, but it was a huge secret point of contention between me & God for many years.

I have *never* had a local friend to run to the mall with, meet for lunch, or call for advice when I'm having a bad day. I still don't really. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-social - I invite people over, set up playdates, offer to meet people, and call people, and so on. But the closeness never developed, and it has left me feeling alone & taken advantage of so many times.

One time I actually thought I'd made a new friend on the base where we were stationed years ago - she lived around the corner, was the same age, neither of us had kids, our dh's were in the same shop. But then every single time I invited her to do something, she always "spontaneously" brought her neighbor. It was the weirdest thing that happened in the saga of my friendship-seeking.

My frustrations at not finding "that friend" led to lots of prayers. As I let it go (which I had a hard time doing), God began to show me that I was expecting too much from people, and that He wanted to be my source. I didn't like that - I wanted a flesh & blood friend - I mean, I can't go to lunch with Jesus! Or can I...? And so I began looking at what I expect from people differently, and how I include Jesus in my life differently as well.

Even now, I wish for friendships that were more than what I have. I do my best to be the friend that each person needs, and appreciate the varied facets of friendship I do receive from the women who are in my life.

Hang in there, Becca. With Jesus as your source, whatever He brings your way will be in the perfect time and way :)

angie.a said...

I live in the same community I grew up in, and yet just last week I had an exciting phone call about an opportunity for my daughter....and not one soul to share it with.

You don't have to be in a strange town to be alone. I don't have the friendships or companionship you seek, and I have longed for it. I did, however, stop praying for it several years ago. I have accepted the answer is "no".

I feel for you, but I also think that you will be OK. You'll find your way.