Lost and Found: Friendships on the move

leaving behind a close friend

We are living in a culture where people are yearning for connection and community. “For Sale” and “Sold” signs are like confetti that sprinkle our neighborhoods. Moving vans and moving boxes have become all too familiar on the street where we live. Although moving can be for all the right reasons, our mobile society has fractured the stability of being in community and connection with one another. When we move, so many of the things we leave behind can be replaced and life somehow begins a new normal and a new beginning. Leaving behind a close friend, or friends, is the loss of a relationship and the emptiness can leave a hole in our heart and a void in our life. When we are in the trenches of transition, we miss the sturdy shelter of a friend.

When we moved from Atlanta, I left behind two beloved friends who have become like sisters since we first met across the fence in our small back yards some 40 years ago. We would “meet at the fence” each morning and discuss the important matters of the day. One big discussion was what to fix our children for lunch when they came home from kindergarten. We would laugh about watering down the kool-aid to make it last longer and how many different ways we could make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! The three of us still connect once or twice a year when I’m in Atlanta. The miles may separate us, but we have a bridge of memories to span the distance.

After moving to Phoenix, the obvious loss of their presence in my life intensified my loneliness and the need for friends. Getting involved with our children’s classroom at their school, volunteering to be the “refreshment coordinator” for the soccer team, and joining a Bible study at the church we were visiting, began to open the doors to meet other women. At one point, I was so desperate for a friend I would have even signed up for basket weaving! Instead, I signed up for an aerobics class.

Some practical things you can do to find and make friends:

  • Find a church.
  • Be proactive; make the first move.
  • Go to a neighborhood garage sale.
  • Say yes!
  • Be available.
  • Invite someone to meet for coffee.
  • Ask your neighbor questions.
  • Join up, join in!

Looking back, the best thing that came out of that period of loneliness for me was moving closer to God. He became my constant friend. I talked with Him all during the day, searched the scriptures for encouragement and hope, and prayed like crazy for connection and community with others. But instead, He filled me all the more with His presence. Then, in God’s perfect timing, He began to multiply godly friends in my life, far beyond what I could ever imagine. Over the years, we have celebrated life, shared in joy and sorrow, laughter and tears, illness and death.

Have you ever looked for something only to find that it was right there all along, right under your nose? You looked in books, blogs, magazines, TV, social media, the web, even YouTube – anything to know where and how to find a friend. And yet, you were looking in all the wrong places. The friend you were looking for has been there all along. You were so busy searching, you missed His presence. You were so desperate to find a friend, you overlooked the best friend of all.

Listen up.

Jesus is your go-to friend, no doubt about it. You can always lean on Him and He’ll always be there to catch you. No matter where you move, He’s gone before you, He’s got your back, and He walks beside you. He will be there to listen to the cry of your heart, to fill your emptiness, and to comfort you in your loneliness. Embrace Him as a friend first. In His perfect timing, He will bring new friends to fill your life.

…and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20 TLB).

From My Heart,

Susan

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Susan Miller

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