Last year, my husband and five month old baby packed up the car and headed south on a new adventure. Not only did we leave behind many things, we left behind many people. When you live in a place your whole life, your roots are both deep and wide. On August 5, I said goodbye to a lifetime of people: friends from high school, college, and places from childhood. I said goodbye to people we met in the churches we’ve attended, small groups we’ve joined, and groups we’ve served alongside. I said goodbye to a group of women who were as close to sisters as I had ever known. And it was hard.
After many weeks of goodbyes, we left for South Carolina and pulled into a new city where there was a distinct void. I had prepared myself for packing and unpacking, for the challenge of finding a new house, for the adjustment of now working from home. But I hadn’t prepared for the need in my heart for a new group of “like family” people, for community.
Our first few months in South Carolina, we were surrounded by sweet families and couples who welcomed us. They made us feel like we were wanted here and served us in so many ways. They brought us meals. They showered us with household goods. They watched our little girl so we could have time alone. But soon, I longed for the familiarity of a community of friends.
Ten months ago, my husband and I moved into our third home and were welcomed by two sweet neighbors with breakfast and introductions. Welcome to the south! Over the next few weeks, those neighbors continued to invite us into their lives. They welcomed us into their homes, they fed us meals, they got to know us. And over the course of this year, those two families turned into seven families — they turned into my community.
What these sweet friends have taught me is how much I have longed for this, for a group of people who do life with me daily. Friends who shoulder the responsibilities of marriage and parenting and life together. Friends who give you a cup of sugar and an egg when you’re coming up short. Friends who keep your baby at a moment’s notice and love them like their own. Friends who make time for you in their every day lives, who remember to text, remember to ask, remember to congratulate.
Saying goodbye to a lifetime of friends in Pennsylvania was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It was heart wrenching and so, so sad, and I am positive those people will be a part of my life forever. But I am so thankful for the sweet community that God has brought alongside Jeremy and me here in South Carolina. I pray that you are able to find the same.