I remember being in college and watching FRIENDS and thinking how awesome it was that these people were close friends for such a long time. It seemed like a guarantee that would be my life after college. When we moved to Boulder after college, our first prayer was for friends. I remember many hard evenings of frustration where we wrestled with the idea that making friends was SO hard after college. Don’t get me wrong, we were supported by the church in wonderful and amazing ways. But we longed for deep friendships to share life. And we could not figure out why it seemed to take so long. And then after a year or so, we began making some great friends. And we began sharing life together all the time: playing volleyball and indoor soccer, eating Buffalo Wild Wings, making amazing dinners, celebrating together, and playing more volleyball. It was home and real and life-giving.
And then a few years down the road we moved away, leaving those friendships in Colorado, and eventually watching them move around the world. Now we were in a new place in Texas, having to start over. We had another great church with support and people we had known for years. But once again, we found making REAL and DEEP friendships took time. We again prayed for friends, but this time we expected it to take time, so we needed to be patient because we would find good friends… after all, we’re awesome and people will definitely want to be our friends ;-). It still took longer than we wanted. But then it happened!
We formed a small group with some people in similar life stages as us, thrown together by the fact that we were the married people who didn’t have kids. We celebrated birthdays, played adult kickball, watched UFC and NFL, and studied God’s Word together. And sure, some of us started to have kids, but we were in life together, so we marked those occasions with baby showers and diaper poker parties. We celebrated and we mourned, TOGETHER. And then, as people began moving away and other family changes happened, it was hard to say goodbye to our friends. Eventually we were the ones to move away.
Our next move was to Uganda. A whole new place and culture, on the other side of the world, away from our family and the friends we had made in Colorado and Texas. We joined a mission team here, so we had coworkers and small group members built into our lives from the beginning. But making solid friends once again proved to be tough. And, once again, we reminded ourselves of the time it takes to make great friendships, so we needed to be patient and trust God in this.
We are finally at the point where we feel like we have a few real friends, but we’ve also had to say goodbye to the closest friends we’ve made here…And these goodbyes are ALWAYS happening. Yes, we have friends who care for us and a community that supports us in so many ways. And we give God praise for these relationships! But, if we’re honest, it’s hard to find the 100% authentic and real, deep friendships (the kind of friends that make you feel like you are at home) because of the nature of transitional life. And when we see our friends from Boulder and Belton, and even several from college and high school, we remember that “home” feeling: the bonds; the freedom to be 100% ourselves, without fear or even second thought. These people have known us for over a decade and we truly love each other, warts and all. They are OUR PEOPLE, so we know what we’re missing.
I don’t say these things because we don’t love the friends we have now any less than the friends from before. Or to compare “best friends” the way I did in elementary school (that prize goes to Adam Fullington). But simply describe a yearning that we all feel and a need we all have. Making friends is easy when there’s a coffee house with a couch that never changes and jobs so flexible that you’re not sure when they actually work (also, having people write your dialogue also helps). But making friends as an adult is HARD.
Are we alone in this? Have you felt the same tension for true, authentic friendships? Have you made those precious friendships? What do you think brings together those type friendships?