The Joy of Community

The past two weekends were ones of great joy. The first weekend, one of my closets friends, Emily, came into town from Arizona with her husband, Ted, to celebrate their one year anniversary (October 4th). I was so grateful for the time Kevin and I got to spend with them: a Friday night gathering of her close friends still here in Boston, Saturday morning mass & brunch, Saturday evening at a friend’s engagement party, and Sunday afternoon when they visited to see our apartment.

 

It’s great to see both of them just so in love and thankful for a great first year. And although I miss her soooooo much, I couldn’t wish anything more for her than to be truly happy. One thing she said to me was that walking around Boston didn’t make her wish she still lived here; she enjoyed the city but wasn’t torn about living elsewhere. What this trip really made her long for, though, was the people. It’s tough coming back and having such effortless and beautiful friendships only to leave again.

It’s a hard thing for anyone; I’ve experienced many close friends leave Boston one by one, and whenever they return I’m able to see their joy of being around their community and the difficult moment of leaving (not to say that they haven’t all cultivated beautiful lives elsewhere – they most certainly have!). Yes, we still consider ourselves one community, even with all the growing members via marriages and babies. And it doesn’t die out, but only grows stronger with time as it matures. Being a part of the universal Church allows us to keep growing together, though it might look different with each passing year.

This past weekend, Sarah and I drove out to Albany, NY to co-host a baby shower for Ashlie with her mother-in-law. Ashlie & Josh lived in North Dakota for three years (Josh is in the air force), and they recently relocated to Penn State where they will be for about a year and a half. It is soooo much closer than ND, but still not the easiest to get to. So the Albany trip to Josh’s parents’ home was a real treat. Seeing her eight months pregnant was truly amazing! In just one short month we will have a new life entering our world, and it could not be more wonderful.

 

We stayed for just one night, so there wasn’t even a moment to feel sad about leaving as it was so quick. But I’m thankful for the short 24 hours we did have as I’m not sure when I’ll get to see them next and meet little Dill! I try to take these moments in; I try to really be present to them. It can be so easy for me to focus on the long stretches of time we’re apart. But God grants us these small events (more often that we ever could have dreamed of back in May 2011!) as a reminder of his goodness, and that as long as we are in communion with God, we are in communion with one another.

Will I be sad the day God calls Kevin and I to leave this city? Possibly all the way to Minnesota, possibly somewhere else? Absolutely. It’s not that I have a desire to live in Massachusetts forever, though. We look forward to building a home for our family in the place that is right for us. But this is my spiritual home where my faith grew. This is where everyone comes back to, in a sense. This is where our community reunites. This is where I still have beautiful, strong friendships. So I tryyyyy not to think much about that next step (though I do a poor job at it). It’s clear this is where we are meant to be at the moment, and I’m happy with that.  As a few of us liked to say back in the day, “Lord, it is good that we are here…and it will be good when we are there.”

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