What has been challenging is friendship. Getting married after forty--piece of cake. Finding friends after forty? Really difficult. Most people in my demographic have their friends already. They are nice enough, but all the friendship slots are filled. Plus, I have friends who go back fifteen, twenty, even thirty years. They know my history. I don't have to explain the backstory. To start over again with someone new is daunting.
There are times I don't miss my friends as much. I have work, a new marriage, and house-hunting. But then there are weeks when I cry at everything. One TV show that I have watched for its duration is "Parenthood". The last episode was a few weeks ago, and at the end, I bawled. Over TV. I started thinking about why I was sad. The reason I liked "Parenthood" in the first place was because it was about a family which was also a community. They knew each other, they talked to each other, they had traditions, they loved each other. I'm sure I would have been teary in Missouri as well, but here in Ohio, with my friends miles away, it felt like losing more people in my circle and losing another familiar set of people whom I saw every Thursday night.
The name of my blog, yet again and probably always, comes back to haunt me. I want friends and community because that is the way that God has created me (and how He created all of us, I believe). Yet, once again, I can't have what I want quickly. Even if I met my new best friend tomorrow, she wouldn't feel like my old best friend until time has passed. My husband was praying for me last week, asking the Lord to help me to use this loneliness to draw closer to Him. At the time, I was having none of it. Somehow it seems I already lived that. I think it was being single all those years that helped deepen my relationship to the Lord. Wasn't that enough? My attitude: "I don't want God. I want friends."
Apparently I'm a slow, slow learner. I was in St. Louis this past weekend, and visited the church I had been attending the year before I got married, The Summit. One of the reasons I started going there was because almost every message reminded me that Jesus meets all of our needs, and that whenever we are feeling anxious, or upset, or fearful, it's usually because we have put something else in place of Jesus and fear losing it. Sunday I was confronted with this again. The message discussed the Song of Solomon, sex, and marital oneness, but at one point the pastor reiterated how the most intimate relationship of our heart is with Jesus. Converging with this thought were several conversations with friends in which I discovered that they too, though living in the same place they had always lived, were feeling lonely and disconnected. Maybe all of us experience these moments even without moving to a new state.
I don't have an answer for how to find friends (though one of my Missouri girls loaned me "MWF Seeking BFF" and it's been a great read). However, I have repented of my "Who needs God, I want friends" attitude and am trying to accept the reality that one of the happiest times of my life also contains some of the saddest moments. I was single a long (very long) time, and yet finally met my husband. I may not have close friends in Ohio for a long (hopefully not that long) time. But even if not, I can continue to trust that God will meet my needs. The verse that strengthened me through those years of singleness still applies:
God is at work. I am still waiting.