Raise your hand if making new friends makes you nervous.
I, myself, am a big fan of the established clique. Shamelessly admitting that I’m much more comfortable with my few life long friends, the high school gang, my girls from college.
Yet, as you grow and (gulp) approach the end of your twenties, those life long friends aren’t always as accessible as they once were. Time and jobs and new spouses pull you in different directions.
The Girl Scouts have it right. Make new friends, but keep the old. It’s just easier to make friends when you were in that stinkin’ troop.
One of the bravest things Dylan and I did last year was join a community group at our church. Feeling raw and clinging the cross, we signed up for a weekly gathering of other twenty somethings – young marrieds – you know, the people I rolled my eyes at when I was twenty three.
But at twenty seven, I was feeling desperate for a new community, a place of belonging, and for hope. For socialization with people who were not so entrapped in our feelings of grief and scarcity.
Over the last year these couples have become our friends. We aren’t at a place of complete leaning – vulnerability takes time and trust and repetition. But we are on our way towards walking through life together – one Thursday night at a time.
This Friday, I was invited to one of the girl…. gal?…. woman’s? (we aren’t girls anymore right?) anyway I went over to one of my new friend’s homes and we spent hours talking about life, about our relationships, our jobs, our paths.
And in the middle of the conversation, in a quiet pause, one of the women asked, “Do you mind if I ask about your dad?”
Now these women have known my dad passed, and known that 2016 was brutal. Yet, we had never delved into anything more than surface questions. It is hard to go deep sitting in a co-ed group of twenty people.
“No, I do not mind.” I responded “It is the most comforting thing to share. Thank you for asking.”
And thus began a conversation that was a glimpse into my process, in the sharing of truth in loss, in taking baby steps towards a deeper friendship, and that was a beautiful thing.
A few months ago, I saw this picture. Some grief center created the meme.
Thanks friends, for taking the time to learn more about me, for honoring that he did live. Thank you for asking.
Also, have you been watching This Is Us? OH MY GOSH get to it. I had been holding off for fear of the intensity the commercials portray. Then, one weekend, Dylan was away and I watched six episodes in a night. Even though we had been planning on watching the show together, I jumped right ahead. I’m all caught up and Dylan is upset with me.
The show is beautiful for thousands of reasons – it’s real, raw, true – the characters complex. And the way they depict grief and its after-effects as they meld in with the celebration of life just makes me feel so much less alone.
This show, it’s a tear jerker. I want to be friends with Randall and Kate and all of them.
SPOILER ALERT – don’t watch if you don’t want to know what is happening in the show.
This week marks the one-year anniversary without my dad. And people have been asking me, “What are you going to do to mark the day?”
We are going to take the steps to honor legacies. Slow down. Take a walk. Wear a hat. Have more fun. Definitely eat a cheese burger. Be like Randall as he takes a stand.
You can stop at 2:32.
So many hugs.