Last year my family moved from western New York to the Baltimore area. I have had a year to settle into my new home and for the most part, things have gone well. We moved closer to family, found good schools for our daughters, and are attending a church we really love. But today I was feeling unsettled and lonely, thinking about friends I had to leave when we moved. These thoughts rolled around in my head throughout the day. And as I was getting ready to make dinner, I became aware of what it was about moving away that bothered me so much: I am no longer relevant to the daily lives of my friends and a community I once called home.
I do not mean that those friendships won’t endure or that I no longer take an interest in my former church, town and neighborhood. But I no longer share the daily moments with all those people: the quick conversations at the grocery store, the common activities of our kids, sharing laughs and frustrations over coffee, running into one another at local events. Taken singularly those things don’t seem momentous. But string them together, over months and years, and a foundation for belonging is created. I was woven into the daily fabric of a community and it felt right. Things don’t feel wrong here. But there is a void and it makes me feel a bit lonesome and a little homesick.
I also know this is a temporary situation. In time, I plan to be established in my new community. I expect to be nurturing new friendships in different kitchens with different coffee cups. I trust that I will find the kind of friends I have been blessed with in all moments of my life, the “kindred spirits” as Anne Shirley would say. I have faith that one day I will feel a sense of belonging here too. It just takes time.