I promised myself connection these days but it’s been a hard two years of minimizing dysfunction and wild grief and depression and parenting hard things and pretending it’s all good in the moment.
I went to a women’s fellowship for our church last night. I prayed hard for a meaningful connection, a neon arrow pointing to why I drove 72 miles round trip after coaching soccer and making dinner and making sure the middle schooler is actually doing his homework. I need reasons for making the effort. The last three years have been hard and lonely – partly pandemic, partly just life – and I’m looking to open myself up outside of the trauma and the hard stuff that feels like it defines us.
Me in real life.
Anyway, I wore an Alabama pullover into a room full of women who have LOYALTIES but it is okay because they still love me. Honestly, it’s my husband’s jacket and neither of us really like Alabama that much but I needed something to cover my butt after soccer practice in all my middle-aged Adidas leggings glory. The best response of the whole night was from one of my favorite people (with a child at the University of Georgia) who breathed out a little and said she was disappointed but glad I was there. The pastor’s wife is an Auburn fan and she just covered the logo with her hand.
SEC Football y’all. It’s a thing.
I didn’t necessarily get the answer I thought I wanted. I hovered awkwardly around the edges of conversations. I ate a lot of cheese. I borrowed a phone charger. But also, I talked with mostly new and some old friends about launching teenagers into the adult world and fantasy football and cheerleading people in ministry and making sure my middle schooler wasn’t driving the youth leaders crazy. I learned where people were from, why they moved to Texas, and legitimately how bad I am remembering names. I learned that the efforts I am making elsewhere matter.
I even had a small conversation about what good Christian girls don’t know (but should) about sex before they get married.
My point, I guess, is to show up. Be loud and unapologetic and you.
One time, I had a basic white girl uniform (Costco Flannel plus Noonday Jewelry, both of which I still love, don’t get me wrong), was 5 weeks post-partum and 7 weeks into a new town, looked in the mirror, and promised myself I would make friends, drove to MOPS at a new church and got put on the wait list-so then I had a really solid cry at the coffee table in front of everyone. It was wild.
Drive all the miles to creep around the brownie plates and talk a lot because you are still nervous at age 44. Tell your story and above all else, listen to theirs. I loved meeting new (ish) people tonight. We aren’t besties now, but I know how to pray when I pass them in the communion line. I can’t remember names but I know faces and conversations and we kind of left the Army at the same time and maybe check in with her every now and then because post-Army life is different and unique and we could all use a high five in this together.
So maybe yeah, my prayer wasn’t answered tonight. Not in the way I imagined, but most certainly in the way that I needed. And for all my awkward, fast-loud-talking-when-they-are-nervous girls, don’t ever change. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s real. Real resonates.
Also, I need to know I’m not alone.
In other news, because I haven’t written in a million years, enjoy some updated pics of a few of my wild animals.