Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Year Later

We are no longer the new kids.

It's amazing how quickly this happens. One introduction leads to another, one involvement begets invitations to new involvements, the simple act of showing up on the same corner every school day at 3:15 acquaints me with a host of folks with whom I exchange smiles at school events, at the grocery store, at the library.

Both kids knew at least half of the children in their classes this year, no small feat considering each grade has nearly two hundred kids. Between class and recess last year, soccer, activities, and neighborhood friends, they walked into classes as members of a community.

We are established now.

We carpool. We are asked to volunteer. We are invited to try out for teams. We run into friends around town. We have a pool in our backyard that fills with children in a matter of minutes.

There is power in the act of showing up a stranger but continuing, day after day, to be available to the possibility of friendship.

For all the heartache we endured leaving Colorado, I am grateful my kids have experienced the process of starting over: to feel the fear of many firsts and to muster the courage to enter anyway, to understand the loneliness of being an outsider and to witness how time and patience and a willingness to engage transform that isolation to connection, to experience the miracle that more than one place can come to feel like home.

Rare is the lifetime that does not require us to uproot and begin again. Now they've seen that a new life in a new place, though painful at first, can ultimately be transformed to blessing.

We went home to Colorado this summer, and when we left to return to Texas, Abby captured the feeling best: "When we're in Texas, I miss our family and house in Colorado, but now when we're in Colorado, I miss our friends and home in Texas."

This is the reward for facing down the loneliness and loss, for living in the vulnerability of newness, for walking into the unfamiliar over and over: friendship, feeling known.

Wherever we find ourselves, it is the richness of community that makes a place home.

Even Texas.

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