Sunday, October 26, 2014

Bowling Buddies



For as long as I can remember, my Mom has gone bowling every Thursday morning. Yes. Bowling. She's had a handful of friends that have lasted through the years. I remember our families getting together for outings and vacations, Christmas cookie exchanges, and Bible Studies that all included the same general group of friends. I don't know that I realized how sweet of a thing that was until recently.

Being an adult is hard sometimes. Jobs change, kids are crazy, friends move. It makes community hard more often then not. Darn adulthood.

With adulthood comes the analogy of settling down - letting your roots grow deep. I guess that's what my parents did. I don't remember many of their close friends moving away or leaving the "circle" (or heaven forbid, the bowling league). We moved away once, but came back after a year or so. The same friends were there to welcome us back.

There's a tree I saw in Uganda. It was a massive tree, but the roots appeared to all be above ground. Open to the elements. Perhaps easily destroyed? Strong, but exposed. Then there is the maple tree in my backyard. Huge. Lovely. Strong. Shelter. Home.



I guess I would say I feel more like that tree in Uganda then I do the 70 year old Maple tree in my backyard that has roots so deep it destroys the entire blocks sewage system. (Not really...I don't think.)

I've tried my entire adult life to set and grow deep roots. God has had other plans, I suppose. We've moved away from family, friends, churches and cultures (seriously - have you ever been to South Jersey? For this Nebraska girl - talk about culture shock!). We've changed jobs and churches and neighbors. I've lost track of how many children I have and where they came from. Life seldom has seemed settled. I find myself often wondering if that is just a thing of our generation and the time we live in, or if it is our choices and God's plan in our life. Whatever the case may be - it can often just feel lonely.

Thanks to the introduction of Facebook, one can have over 1000 friends and still feel very alone. Ask that person how many deep and meaningful relationships they have in "real life" and you may be shocked. But this isn't a post about Facebook. (However, FB hasn't helped....)

I don't believe I am alone in my pursuits to belong. Believe me when I say that I've tried it all. I've joined moms groups, Bible studies, play groups. business ventures, adoption groups, groups for Pastors wives, PTO, hobby related groups, running groups, cycling groups, and most recently CrossFit (Lord help me). It's how we - the human - move toward belonging. We search for those who are like us and we play the game. We cry out to know and be known. Sometimes the cry is heard, and other times it isn't. Most of my ploys for community have come up very short for many reasons. Maybe I should try bowling. 

Church planting has created an entirely new dimension to this. It's very strange to be living in the same town for 13 years....only to find yourself starting over (to a degree). I have not done well with this aspect of our new life. 

I wonder if the women of generations past have dealt with this. Didn't they just sit around knitting and quilting all day? That sounds glorious to me. Except for the whole knitting and quilting part. But to be with people all day who know us....and get this...still love us??? That sounds beautiful.

But today it just feels like we hide. We hide behind our kids, our jobs, our families, our status, our agenda. Mix that with the reality of life - new jobs, new locations, etc....and well, how many people feel alone? Unknown. Unnoticed. This is not good. 

Roots are roots, I suppose. Above ground or below. So I can try to choose to see my above ground roots as strong and meaningful... not as something to easily be destroyed, mowed over, climbed on and given over to all of natures elements. I have roots that stretch far and wide. I have roots in Nebraska, New Jersey, Ethiopia, Uganda, Cypress, Australia, Minnesota, California, Missouri, Florida, Alaska. Christ Community Church, CORE, The Lighthouse, Flatirons, Calvary and Gospel Life. I may not be leaving the same communal legacy my parents left for me - but I pray that our vast roots reach down to our children and their children as meaningful and purposeful. Oh, may I live with purpose. Be it alone or be it with a tribe.

Being an adult is hard sometimes. Saying goodbye, changing our worlds, it's just hard. And to be honest, terribly lonely some days.

Anyone up for bowling?

1 comment:

Jeff said...

You really have a gift for writing. And connecting spiritual things to real life (because they are the same).