catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 10, Num 15 :: 2011.09.02 — 2011.09.15


Fare thee well

Dear Jennifer,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. I saw your brother yesterday, and it made me miss you even more. Then tonight, I drove past your old street twice. I slowed down and thought about taking a detour past your house, but I knew it would make me sad. Instead, I said a prayer for you as I drove by.

I hope that you are getting settled into your new home and new city by now. You’ve probably established the new junk drawer, where the silverware goes, and re-arranged a few cupboards already.

Watching you go through this 1,000 mile move, and feeling the ache in my heart that your absence brings, has brought up so many memories of my own family’s two cross-country moves. The first months were a flurry of bittersweet activities — saying goodbyes and packing, then finding a new home and settling in. Everything had that fresh, new feeling, like a house that still smells like lumber and carpet. New restaurants, new routes to school, new grocery stores, new neighbors, new coffee shops — even the most mundane activities were exciting. Then I hit the deep rut in the road that jolted me to the core. It felt like everyone had settled into a new normal except me. The kids had a routine at school complete with built-in friends. My husband had a new “everyday” at work hardwired with friends. And then there I was — limping along while packing lunches, unpacking boxes, cleaning, doing laundry, running errands and chauffeuring kids to activities. Everything was just like it used to be, except for the community. I missed my friends so badly I had a stomachache. Who would I call to watch the kids so I could go to the doctor? Who could I go have coffee with and just kick back and be myself with? While everyone else had instant community, I had no immediate connections.

I remember when I got an e-mail from my previous Bible study leader. She had told me at my last group meeting how much she was going to miss me. “I’ve so appreciated the insight and knowledge you brought. I knew that when discussion was going awry I could count on you to say just the right thing to help bring it back on track. I’m going to miss you!” After the move, I got a note from her with an update. “The week after you left, God brought TWO new women to Bible study and they have so beautifully filled the gap. It’s so wonderful to see how God provides!”

I felt a little blue after reading that message. Everyone had moved on. I wondered if they even missed me. I was still waiting for God to provide for me. I did my part, reaching out my hand, meeting new people, but I wondered if I’d ever really “connect” with anyone like I did in my previous home. The culture of the city, the mentality of families, even the way they did “church” was different. It wasn’t that it was bad. Just different. But I was the same as I’d always been.

Then, out of the blue, God started providing friends, and in the most unlikely of places. In a crowd of people on the sidewalk on a Sunday morning between services. At a conference of 2,000 attendees with a gal I “happened” to sit next to. At a weekend ministry event where I met a woman who shared mutual friends. I couldn’t have orchestrated any of those meetings if I’d tried. It was as though God began to pluck people out of the crowd and place them in front of me so that I had no choice but to stumble into them. Each one was a gift, speaking directly to my heart and becoming an instant friend — something that rarely happens for me. I knew it was God providing the community I so desperately needed in my new location.

My dear friend, please know that I am praying for the same for you. I’m praying that God will pluck people out of the crowd that He has hand-picked just for you, friends who will walk with you through this transition, who will understand your heart and be an instant connection. Nothing will ever replace the community that you left behind, nor would you want it to. But there is beauty in the addition of new, and different community.

Much love,


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