Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My View from the Moving Van

Moving stinks. There are great parts about it. But it's hard. And it never seems to get easier.  I should know. In my 33 years on this earth, I have moved 12 times. If you weren't a math major, that averages out to every 2.75 years.  That's a lot. My family is NOT a military family, either!

Of those moves, 2 were dorms in college, and 6 were moves to different houses in the same town. So those weren't so hard. But it sounds more dramatic to say I've moved 12 times. But I have seriously lived in 6 different towns in 3 different states in 2 different time zones. For a girl who likes putting down some roots, that's tough.

Our last move was the toughest. We moved all 4 of our children (one of them being only 5 days old) to a whole new state. Sam, our oldest, was in Kindergarten, so thankfully the kids weren't leaving a ton of friends behind, but he still misses his one best friend.

But this move has been the toughest for me. The ironic thing about this being the toughest is that this is my favorite place we have lived so far. I LOVE where we are. I love our church. I love our house. I love the town. I love the people. But, still, change is hard.

I have realized over the last few years how precious (and rare) real friends are. And, honestly, it's hard to make real friends if you're moving all the time.  My closest friends are a few girls who I grew up with. When I went home over Christmas, I got to have dinner with two of them. I CHERISH these times. I feel most like me when I'm with them. They know me. I know them. There doesn't need to be any pretending. No convincing. No posturing. Just love. And understanding. And being confident that somebody "gets" me. I know typing it out, it sounds cheesy even to me. But that's really how it is, and I love it.

Our dinner last month, though, was hard for me. I may or may not have broken down into tears at my favorite restaurant.  Being there with my friends made me realize how much I miss them. And how much of them I miss out on. There is WAY too much catching up on each others' lives. I wish I just knew what was going on. They both knew what was going on with each other. It was just me who didn't. I know they live in the same town and get to see each other more, but I hate the feeling of being the odd man out. Not that they leave me out. It's just how it is. I don't live there. It can't be helped. I can accept that, but I don't have to like it.

Then there are my Georgia friends. Before we moved here to Louisiana, that was our home for 5 years. I made a few good friends there, and even some GREAT friends.  But the thing with that....the people who live there have lived there for years. Most of them forever. So, I moved in, and tried to figure out my place there. I did have some fun, great, sweet friends. But, once again, I moved. They didn't. Their lives remained the same, or worse, returned to life exactly the way it was before I came there. Like I never even was a part of their lives. Sure, there are the exchanged Christmas cards or "checking in" texts/facebook posts and promises of visits. But it's different. And unlike my hometown friends, there is no history. I don't know their "backstory" and they don't know mine. Nothing that creates that cement that friendships need to survive. So keeping up with these friends takes a lot work. From both parties. And sometimes life gets too busy to be able to put in that effort.

So, now, here in the present...I've been in Louisiana for a year now and I'm in that "trying to figure out my place" role. There are tons of really sweet, really Godly girls here that I love. I hope and pray that we are gonna be here for a long time. Previous pastors have stayed 20+ years and I want to be in that category!! But right now we're still in the new phase. People here already have their groups of friends. And so many of these groups have been so wonderful about welcoming me and including me and making me feel loved. But I still know that I'm not part of the group (YET!). I know that's normal, and again, it's just a part of being the new girl and that everyone has been there and I'm not alone. But it's still a hard place to be when you're there.

I desire close friendships with girls. I want real friendships. Ones that aren't just surface. {which is also difficult because sometimes it's hard for me to get real with people who are church members since my husband is the pastor, but that's a whole different post} I am trying so hard not to just give up even trying. It would be easy for me to say "it doesn't matter" or "it's not worth it." But I refuse to do that! I believe that close friendships are a wonderful gift from God. And I am determined to be a better friend...to those I've known my whole life, to those I only knew a short time, and now to those that I'm just becoming friends with.

Disclaimer 1:
I also know that part of it is just where I am in life. I have young babies at home. I am in the midst of schedules and diapers and naptimes and getting everyone where they need to be. I know that things will change sooner than I'm ready and that I'll one day have time to meet friends for coffee and lunch and trips to Target. I know that. But this post is about how moving has affected me. And that's where it has hit me the most....in my friendships.

Disclaimer 2:
I also know that I have not been the kind of friend that I am saying I want. I realize that all friendships take two people to make it work and I don't always invest like I need. I don't always take the time to cultivate my friendships. I don't call/text as often as I should to check in with people. I'm not whining that I'm the perfect friend and that my friends don't reciprocate. Again, not the point of this post. This is just a post saying that moving a lot makes making and keeping friends harder than it would be if I had stayed put.


Jason and Jackie said...

Well - I'll just have to say - I wish you'd moved to Boerne, TX, because we're in exactly the same spot. Thanks for posting this. I feel ya girl! You describe it all very well. One thing I struggle with is not being able to visit with all my old friend when I go home. There isn't time, every time, to spend the time you need to with family AND all of your childhood friends, and for people that haven't lived it, there's not always the understanding you'd hope for. Jason and I have been married for 7 years and we've moved 5 times in that small space. NC was three years... the longest we've lived anywhere. It's hard. No denying that. I'll add you to my prayer list. I could use some prayer too. :o) My very first blog post was about this very issue. I'm 7 months in at our new post. In my experience, it takes 6 mos. to start feeling like you're kind of at home and one year to start feeling like you sort of fit a little. Having kids helps with that some... but also makes it harder in some ways too. Stay strong! Zeph. 3:17

Angie said...

I totally understand how you feel. I have NO close friends in my life & sometimes I long for friendships like I see others have. I think the biggest problem with me is that I have babies, a husband and obligations & I don't have (or take) enough time to meet people and work on friendships. Hang in there girlie, I'm sure you will find your niche in no time :)

AMckay said...

Yep! Recently, I was chating w my closest friend here in our current location.And so another girl in our church will be getting married soon and I was like "yall better invite me to the lingere party"! My friend says, "well, we weren't sure if we should or not since wine might be served"... In my heart, I was crying, but outwardly I just smiled and said I understood. I was in no way hurt by these girls bc they would never try to do that, but I was definitely hurt by the reality that bc I'm a pastors wife, I will never really fit in:'/ . But then I share this with my bffs who I grew up with and knew me before I was a PW, and like you said, no pretending w them! I actually appreciate them more now than ever before!

Mica said...

It is the same for preacher's kids! I have lots of "friends" in lots of places but only a couple really true friends! Keep that in mind as your babies grow older! They will feel much like you do!

Anonymous said...

Hey, you are an inspiration to me Stacy. Your post brought a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat because I have been there. I'm still there. I have felt a little like an outsider for a lot of my adult life. I have only moved a few times in my life, but I've definitely been removed from the "normal" sort of life most of my peers experienced and robbed, so to speak, of the carefree experience my friends had. 12 years ago I had ovarian cancer and I don't have to tell anyone how awful that was, but that's a different story. I left my friends, sorority sisters, at college to undergo treatment in New York. I returned to a school I loved deeply and my friends that I missed terribly after I finished treatment. I was unable to stay at my beloved school and graduate with my friends. I had to come home and finish school, be with my family and get some much-needed counseling. (PTSD, etc etc whole 'nother post) I am now an outsider in that circle of friends that I cherished so much. It's nobody's fault really. I feel a lot like the world kind of moves on without you sometime and maybe hanging on to the people and places of the past isn't what we're supposed to do. I think that people and experiences are put in our path for a reason. It doesn't mean that those people are any less wonderful or cherished.
I've never really gotten over moving from Tupelo honestly and miss it terribly. It felt like home, like my soul could rest there. Maybe I wasn't supposed to stay there because I might figure out that Tupelo isn't the greatest place on earth and maybe I wasn't meant to remain super close with some of my sorority sisters because they're not perfect. Point being, everything seems that much more wonderful when you don't have it anymore and if you could wave your magic fairy wand and put everything back to how it was, you would find out it really isn't that great. I'm going to stop rambling now because this is quite possibly the worst thing I've composed in recent history. You are not alone. I have a few fantastic friends. It's about the quality not quantity. Love you, Melissa

Peggye Little Berry said...

Precious girl, i get it. We live in very different worlds right now. But I've lived in yours at one time, and I pray you will never live in my today. Though worlds apart, I love you as my daughter. We will always be forever friends. A word of wisdom; Never stop loving Never stop friendiing. You are the girl everyone dreams of as their closest friend. Choose wisely.

Beth said...

Thank you for writing this! It is as if you were writing about me. Only, I didn't move much. I only lived in two different houses in my hometown. It wasn't until I married an my husband started his first pastorate that we moved. I long for that friend. The one that I call everyday, that knows all my ins and outs, that I cannot wait to see again. I know one day the season of littles in the house, and being consumed with messes and boo-boos will over, but we are still affected. We moved recently as well, and have another move pending soon. I have always loved having roots, so this is very disturbing! But joy comes in the morning. Chin up! God IS good.