I've been wrestling with something since December. The fact is, I have very, very few friends around. I'm not sure how it happened, and I'm not here to whine, but it's just true. Jerod brought some "regulars" to the marriage table, and we had weekly hang-out time with them...but now they have all moved to other cities, too far for weekly gatherings. I had built-in friends at my old job, where grabbing lunch and going to a youth worker meeting also constituted my social life in an otherwise really busy life. I have also been blessed in the past with lots of great roommates who were sort of a built-in social life...there was typically someone at hand to eat with, see a movie with, go shopping with, etc.
I can't blame this phenomenon on marriage...not my own. I recently lost a good friend to marriage in the sense that she moved to Texas! I did probably retreat a bit when I got married and moved to the "Hill," as I think sometimes I'm a hermit at heart. I won't blame the problem specifically on living farther from Charlotte, though that can be a contributing factor and an excuse when it comes to hanging out with people we know in the far reaches of Charlotte, like University area, Matthews, Indian Trail, etc. I simply removed myself from some natural places of socialization, which I had come to depend on like a crutch.
I accept full culpability in the matter. I have been a poor friend. I don't reach out as much as a good friend should. I have always had the luxury of being a lazy friend, who could just as easily run into people and consider it friendly interaction. I make excuses as to why I shouldn't call someone, "They're probably eating dinner...I'm sure they're hanging out with their real friends this weekend...they're too busy to fit us in...it might be awkward since we haven't hung out in a long time..." and the list goes on and on until I completely talk myself out of contact. Then weeks turn into months, and I'm embarrassed to call because it's been so long.
As Jerod and I continually find ourselves staring at only each other on Friday and Saturday nights, it's not that we don't enjoy one another's company--we do! But sometimes there's a different joy that comes from interaction and exchange with other people...rolling the dice, making jokes, hearing about each other's lives...just good ol' community. I have spiritual community, but I'm somehow losing my connection to social community. The few folks that we've reached out to seem not to be able to do something (granted, sometimes on short notice) time and time again. Leaving me to wonder if there's just something wrong with me--those feelings of inadequacy that hearken back to middle school and high school--when everybody gets invited to the party but you...But that smacks of pity party, and I won't do it.
So, as fumbling humans are wont to do...when all else fails...pray. So sad that it's been bothering me for a month, and I'm just now coming to that. First, I should pray that God would show me how to be a more invested friend, how to listen and follow-up better--with my heart and not just my mind and mouth. Second, I will pray that God bring some folks into our lives that can be "regulars." It seems everyone I know is too busy. We are working, going to school, checking lots of things off our lists... It's hard to think ahead and find time for others until it comes right to the moment of free time. But it must be done. I must pray, listen, plan ahead, invest, and love. And call someone to go to the movies with me!