You see, being part of a family for me is having friends of various ages much like in a real "blood kin" family. So, I now have a couple friends about my own age, friends younger (like my little sisters), friends older (older sisters), and friends that are my "moms".
For a long time, the only friends I had were those almost my mom's age. That was fine, but there was no balance and they weren't in the same place in their lives as I was. It got tiring to hear of all their spare time, their "Red Hat" fun, their cruises and trips to all over, their grandkids, and their friendships. I love these ladies and they are always there for me if I need a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on, but I sometimes felt that I had nothing to give them back. Now, with a new Sunday School class, our once a month Friday family fellowship, and consistently helping with childcare on Wednesday nights (mainly so I can talk to my "little sister" friend and enjoy her company), I finally feel that I have an (almost) complete family to be a part of.
There are still times I feel left out because I don't have a "ton" of friends in my stage of life and I see it happening a lot for those younger AND older. Most of those my age are pretty much unavailable either physically or emotionally. (I think having teens zaps your energy in more ways than one.) But now at least, I have hope for more....hope for my life to be filled and my heart to be full HERE in my town, not just in the towns we have lived in before. I love my friends in those places, but I don't want to long for them and be in pain to think that I may never have that again. I want to be completely whole. I do think it will happen. Not sure exactly when and where, but it is coming SLOWLY.
So, after writing this yesterday, I had to call my friend in Memphis. It was so good to have her listen to me, support me and listen to her back and feel her accept me as no one quite does here (yet). I remarked that I sometimes feel that I know more about Memphis and what is happening there than I do about what it going on here.....that when a friend has a baby, I overhear someone else talking about visiting them, but it takes about 3-4 days before I have "official word of the baby's name and size. And, when someone else is sick or hurt or was sick or hurt, it takes about two weeks before I know ANYthing about it (by then the crisis is over). So, despite feeling more a part, sometimes I feel that there are still miles to go.
The consistently "reaching out" on my end has to keep happening. And, having random groups of people over has to keep happening even if there is no reciprocity. I keep searching, keep reaching, keep looking and it will happen. I know that there is a part of my life that these people have no clue about, but that is how it is when you move in and have to establish relationships where you are at. They don't know your history. However, they can accept you with your present and you can grow in friendship from there. That is what has to happen. I am ready for it! After finding out what doesn't work and who it is NOT going to be with, I am going to find who it IS going to be with. And my new friends, those that accept me here, I am so blessed to have them.