So Randy and I try to have a date night every Wednesdayevening. Please don’t take this as super organization, or as how really good atfocusing on our marriage we are, it started as a matter of necessity and wejust fell into the habit.

Our kids go to youth on Wednesday evenings and since we liveoutside of town and have to drive in to drop them off and pick them up. We juststay and usually share a burrito at Chipotle for dinner. Last night we switchedit up a bit and went to a pizza place downtown. Yes, I live in a small townnow, and yes the picture above is of the downtown area for all my readers whoare not K-State savvyJ.It is very picturesque with the limestone city hall, churches, libraries,shops, theaters and restaurants, even a cool art gallery and high class tattooparlor (yes I have been inside, no I didn’t leave with anything though the ideaintrigues me….) The only thing missing are antique stores. I totally don’t getthat, but whatever.

ANYWAY! Last night as Randy and I ate at this great pizza placeI watched across the street at a locally owned yarn and knitting shop. Thelights were on and women were arriving instead of leaving. Not much is busydowntown Manhattan on a cold Wednesday night, so I know it was an event of somekind, maybe a knitting circle or a class. Can you picture it? Cold night, womenscurrying to the front door bundled in coats and gloves, carrying knittingbags.  Opening the door and visiblyrelaxing in the warm shop; hugging friends, settling around the table in thefront chatting the whole time. It just looked warm and cozy, totally small townand heartwarming. And there I was on the outside watching this fellowship ofwomen, mingling, interacting, and feeling a little left out. Do NOTmisunderstand me. My family would look at me as if I had grown another head ifI said I wanted to learn to knit. That is the furthest thing from enjoymentthis impatient, clumsy fingered woman could ever picture. But a part of meyearned a little bit just to be included in something that warm, a part of aplace. I’m not sure that even makes sense to some people. I don’t honestly knowif it would have made sense to me a few years ago. I had a place where I hadgrown up, made friends, made connections. I knew a lot of people betweenchurch, school, family and community.  Ihad roots with people. Then we picked up and moved here to Manhattan and Ifound myself alone.

I liked it at first, just putting myself into my husband andkids, making home and not missing crazy schedules. Then it got a little lonely.Not lonely as in alone, I have agreat husband and wonderful kids, but lonely as in I missed the fact that Icouldn’t pick up the phone and meet a friend for lunch or a soda. Or lonely inthe sense that no one knew me, and I had to tell the same story every time Imet someone new. From KC, Randy took a job here, kids in school, blah, blah,blah. Sad story I know! Now you’re thinking “What a whiner!!” And I reallydon’t mean it that way.  I know there arepeople who start over all the time, moving ton’s more than me and people whoare much more alone than me.  I just had an idealized picture of what movingto a small town would be like. Friendly, lots of new Facebook friends,opportunities to know more people, and God really used it to teach me a lesson.Like a darned 80’s sitcom, my life is a lesson, who knew?!

I would meet women and think here is a person I could befriends with! We are so much alike!Only to stand on the outside getting the very clear message that “I have enoughfriends thank you very much, and I really don’t have the time or desire toinvest in someone new.”  OUCH!I think maybe…..perhaps…..possibly…….okay I knowI have said those words in my head when meeting someone new in the past. Ithink I might have even said them out loud to a good friend.  And there it is. I am totally confronted withwho I am. Who I have been and it has come back to bite me firmly in thebackside.

I know women need relationships with other women. It’s theway God made us. So when we have babies and sick kids and boy troubles andquestions about faith and scripture and how to be whatever it is we arestriving to be, we have someone with whom to share our burdens.   I knowthat, but it is still so easy for us to be so wrapped up in our own stuff thatwe miss people God puts in front of us to grow us. I’m not comparing myself orsituation to people who are truly outcast or on the fringe. This was just Godgiving me a nudge to actually see the women around me who might need a friendor someone to just listen. I don’t think God wastes any moment of our life. Itis too fast and fleeting to let whining about what is momentary distract usfrom what we are supposed to be doing.

Another life lesson learned. Honestly I always thoughgetting older would mean I knew more. What it really means is that the older Iget, the more I realize how little I know, and how big my God is.
         “Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul”
                                                                                                              Proverbs 27:9 The Message