Michelle, bless you for having a senior recital and inviting me. This was the first picture tagged of me by anyone in Kansas City after I moved here. I can still remember sitting at my desk in that 3rd floor apartment on 107th, by the window that collected ice on the INSIDE of the pane, and blinking disbelievingly at my computer screen.
"Someone...someone tagged a picture of me...in Kansas City? Does this mean I have...FRIENDS?"
Oh, how clearly I remember my schedule during that time.
Class 8 till 9 am. Work 10 till 5 pm. Class 6 till 9 pm. Collapse. I ran off fumes and fell asleep on the couch every night, trying to stay awake to have some chill time with Tiffany but failing each time.
This was a Wednesday, and I skipped Economics II because community was more vital to my life than a case-study of America's GDP in 1981. I arrived late because I got lost and sat in the back of the dark auditorium, quickly spotting the group of people I vaguely knew from church. I had been going faithfully for three months and had made a few casual acquaintances, but no real friends yet. I knew I wouldn't survive much longer in this snowy city without a pack to run with, and I was willing to work for it.
At intermission I fearfully walked over to their happy chattering group and inwardly begged someone to know me and invite me to sit down. Susannah did, and we started talking. Bless her too. She asked me if I knew the other people there.
Some names registered, some didn't. I asked Suz if Jon and Alissa were brother and sister or husband and wife. They had the same last name but he was older and they looked alike...I couldn't tell. Suz smiled and didn't make a big deal about what a stupid question that was. "They're husband and wife."
What a difference two years makes. These people are my best friends now. This place is home. I am carried by my community. I am known. I know the streets of my town. I run into people I know all the time. As I was cleaning my room today I found the stack of encouragement letters my friends wrote to me before Ethiopia, there were TWELVE letters from friends who know my heart well enough to speak life-giving encouragement into it.
I remember Isaac giving a talk at the Gathering sometime that Spring and quoting Proverbs on how beautifully our God works: "He puts the lonely in families."
Praise Him for putting the lonely in families.