Thursday, October 16, 2014

Old Friends Must Always Begin as New Ones

*It's Day 16 of the 31 Day Writing Challenge, which is why I'm still talking about intentional community. (-; If you're interested in reading yesterday's post and maybe even following along for the rest of the series, check that out here: 31 Days of Intentional Community *

Every morning on our way to Sam's school I come close to veering off the road as I crane my neck to see the sun rising above the treetops and the early morning mist that's still clinging to the farm fields we pass. We drive by old barns that farmers are still actually using as they continue the rhythms of planting and harvesting. There's a lovely little pond that sits at the bottom of a corn field that never ceases to draw me in as we wend our way through the countryside. I realized this morning that as we drove by one of the little farms we pass every day, that I referred to it in my mind as "our farm." As if we have some stake in it now that it has become part of our daily routine and perhaps because it occupies a small place in my heart somehow.

The roads we drive to and from school have become familiar and comfortable and the short drive from our house to where Sam spends his mornings feels like it belongs to us in some indefinable way. I know where to look to see the morning sunlight breaking through the line of trees at one of the turns we make. And I know to look for the horses that have made their way out of the sleepy barn to eat their breakfast. And right now, as our local farm hosts it's own fall festival, there's an orange patch of pumpkins that almost glows with orange-ness through the foggy morning mist before the sun burns it away.

This morning found me pondering how less than two years ago, I didn't even know any of this existed. Even though I grew up in this county (before moving away for twelve years), I never laid eyes on a single one of these barns or farms or backroads. And, now they are becoming like old friends to me, familiar and welcoming and known.

I can't help but relate this to friendships we've made over the last two years since we moved here. I think we're finally starting to experience the depth of friendship we've hoped for and we're beginning to see friends start to feel like family. It always takes longer than you think it will, but once it finally begins to happen, you wonder how people it seems you just met have suddenly become so familiar.

Friendships that matter aren't usually forged over night. It takes time to reach the places in our friends' hearts that endear them to us and hopefully us to them. It takes time to learn the idiosyncrasies and the quirks and the expressions that make that friend themselves. And it takes time to let them discover those things about you.

Communities of friends are always in process. We are always learning new things about each other, hearing stories we haven't heard before, observing hand gestures and facial expressions that make each friend distinctive.

There is time for all of this. Rome wasn't built in a day. The community you and I long for can't be either.Give yourself time to live into the community you are hoping for. And remember that old friends must always begin as new ones.

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