I wanted to start this as a way of remembering & sorting through the thoughts in my head....turns out there are so many that they are all jumbled together in a way that I can't make enough sense of them to write anything...
I've been thinking alot about friends lately. I am becoming more and more aware of just how blessed I was in the DR for the 3 years before we left. Before that, by close friends and awesome women I looked up to had been scattered in different parts of the country and we saw each other only sporadically. Then, about 3 years before we left, Sara & Joey moved to town with baby Risa and we started getting close with keren & Luis Fernando. By the time we left, I had Kyla (and Jake & Judah) living right outside of my front door, Keren right below them, and Sara was a 5 minute walk away. Right there, 3 of my close friends & my model / mentor / awesome woman I look up to - all within a stones throw from my door. I'm sure the Lord knew I needed it to get through the first 3 years in Amelia-land. :)
Since I've been here, I've had very few moments where I actually feel "comfortable" - like I can just kick back & let my gaurd down, and semi-escape the eery twilight-zone feeling of feeling like I have no idea where I am, what planet I'm on, and what is going on around me.
I have met great people...lots of great people...but just seem to always feel distinctly aware that I'm different, don't feel at home with these strange creatures on this strange new planet - like we speak different languages, come from very different backgrounds, and are just standing on two very distinctly different sides of a glass window, through which I look, watching, feeling like I APPEAR the same in most ways to all these odd creatures.
It has even been weird for me with my beloved friends here. I have a few long time friends here who have been a cherished part of my life for more than 1/2 the time I've been alive. Being with them is comfortable & "easy" in the way it has been over the past 14 years when I would see them - because of the FOUNDATION OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS, which has remained unchanging over the years as we, ourselves, have each changed greatly. We still all cling to our Saviour, knowing that all we are is only because of who He is....which also sums up the basis of my great friends over the 9 years in the DR....maybe I'm getting to something here? For that, I am SSOOO grateful, because it gives me a great feeling when I'm with these friends...but then there are the details of life over the past 14 years. I know I'm a totally different person, as are they...so how do you figure out the relationship...it's like forging a new friendship, with someone you are already intimately known by.
I also struggle as I go about my weeks, meeting people, seeing old friends, or coming across old acquaintences. Many times my heart is drawn to certain women, aching to know them & be known by them, to walk with them, pray with them, glean wisdom from them, or offer them something that I may have to offer somewhere within me....but they already have their worlds, their friends, their lives, their routines, their....... As I stumble through my English sentences, feeling oddly aware that often what comes out is not what I am trying to say, yearning inside to know these women, though also feeling like it is hopeless in a place so big that I could walk for 50 minutes and never come across any of them. And so I feel alone...very alone.
I am so thankful for Tracy Paulino. She has spoken wisdom into my life since they day I met her. Being a not very outspoken person AT ALL, I admire her, and hope to be changed to be more like her, in the ways that she is like Jesus. The night Amelia jumped on her head and got a concussion, I was talking with Tracy. It was good for my soul to hear that I will probably not ever come across anyone to be friends with who will get me like my friends did overseas...they simply have lived very different experiences than I. This is not good or bad, just a fact. But...she did say that she has found during her last 3 years being back here on this crazy planet that it's ok. When you need someone who really gets where you're coming from & the crazy things you've been through & lived & experienced, you call one of those people. BUT....in the meantime, you can be absolutely blessed by the friendships forged in this crazy place.
Today was a great day. My dear dear friend Catie Blackmar :) was going to the fair with her hubby, kiddos, & friends...and she let me tag along with my girls. It was a really hot day to me (not used to this dry heat - the girls and I drank a few gallons of water after we left, I'm sure!), the girls where too little to do much of anything, I still feel weirdly out of place wearing shorts (even though I've been here for 6 months now!), so I was hot in my jeans...but it was such a great day! I almost didn't go. I didn't want to intrude on their day...but I think that was just an excuse for my fear of spending the morning with mostly people I don't know. I knew I should go, but I'm right at this moment realizing it was just fear overwhelming me...and not wanting strangers to wonder about us because Amelia was a bruised head, fat lip, and cut up face (that's a whole other story). So, I did what I should always do - I went in and got on my knees and prayed...and immediately knew I had to go, so I threw a bunch of snacks, medicine, and 2 little girls in the car and took off.
It was great. I fet SO at ease with these other women who I talked to. I felt like I was with like-minded people. People I could be real with, in spite of not knowing them. I felt loved on by total strangers. I felt like for just one day I actually connected to someone I'm not related to! I felt relaxed, comfortable, encouraged that not everyone on this strange planet is of a totally different species.
Lord, BLESS my dear sister Cate & her beautiful precious babies. Bless her marriage & their ministry. Bless the homeschool group & ALL of the families involved. May those kids grow up to know you passionately. May their mouths praise you, their eyes see you, their hands be lifted up to praise you. May their bodies glorify you, may their feet NEVER walk away from you, and may you give them hearts that are truely in tune with YOUR heart - your heart for them, for the lost, and for the rest of this world.
If there is anyone who just read this whole post I'm impressed!!