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They had a dog. A big, beautiful, wonderfully calm, long-haired golden retriever. And sitting on the floor with him — stroking his silky hair and listening to his contented breathing — was possibly the most peaceful thing about my life in 2003-2005.
Sometimes, I even got to walk him.
They also had what felt like a home. They had two kids – teenagers – and their dog and their life and their friends and their work. She talked to her mom on the phone every couple of days (I remember her answering it often when I was there – an old, hanging-on-the-wall phone) and they went for long morning walks along the river. They got the newspaper. They always had a pot of coffee on. I guess I felt like that’s what it was to be an adult. To have a home, and a routine, and a family, and a rich life woven together.
Their home was like a refuge to me – a haven of security and stability during wandering college and post-college years, when I was living with countless roommates, with haphazard furniture and random posters tacked onto the walls, eating Trader Joe’s frozen burritos for dinner. When I visited their home, I wanted to spend hours there (and often did) – learning from them and absorbing their life. I wanted to be transformed by their (seemingly) calm, collected, stable selves. Continue reading
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Each Monday morning, I meet with a group of fellow moms for a couple of hours to catch up, commiserate, pray together, share advice, and study some aspect of the Bible. This Moms Group has often served as a necessary lifeline over the past three years. It has also served as a very reliable source of coffee.
I could ramble on about all the ways this group has been so important to me – friendships formed, meals delivered, childcare offered, lots of hard-earned tips and ideas shared. And maybe I will, someday, since it has certainly – and perhaps unexpectedly – become one of my treasures. But today I want to write about something I learned from a book that we worked through together during the Fall.
One of the last chapters of this book (called Gospel Love) develops an idea that I’ve come to call entering in. We have to enter into the world that someone who is “hard to love” inhabits. This idea has changed and challenged much of the way that I love. Continue reading
Although I did not mention it here, I gave up Facebook for Lent this year (I know, I know. More than fashionably late in bringing this up – as usual). At any rate, I gave it up for two reasons. And, as is often the case with these things, I learned significantly more than I had anticipated.
I gave it up because it’s often a waste of time. And while I’m learning to embrace the necessity of rest and taking breaks more than I ever have before – let’s face it, mindless scrolling is just not helpful. And it’s also really not even a break. Because as I scroll, my brain is bombarded with images, and with words that I read and engage with and think about and respond to. So it’s not a break. And then I get sucked in, and it’s bye-bye break.
So there’s that. But also, Facebook makes me envious. I know this about myself, and wanted to give myself a break from the temptation. The temptation of comparing my life to everyone else’s. My pictures to theirs, my Sunday afternoons, my anniversary dinner, my spring break trip. Facebook makes me forget what I have and it makes me want what it looks like everyone else has. So I thought a break would do me some good. Continue reading
So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about community. The community that I long to have is starkly different from the community that I currently have. I dream about a community that starts with friends and grows to include spouses and children. I dream about our kids growing up together, seeing each other often and spontaneously, playing in the streets and running back and forth between houses, sharing snacks and swimsuits, sharing Thanksgiving and New Years Eve and the Fourth of July.
I dream of close friends who have “been there through thick and thin,” who show up at each other’s homes with meals and Kleenex and go out for girls’ nights and pedicures. I imagine my children growing up with a small circle of other adult figures around them, friends and mentors of mine who pray for them and help parent them, who fill in where I lack (anyone want to sew a Halloween costumes?) and who attend my kids’ weddings while recalling their first birthdays.
I am often frustrated, here in New York City, because my community doesn’t look like this. Continue reading