Two years ago when we moved to Georgia, I knew a total of two people who live here in town. For introverted me, I think those first weeks were some of the hardest of my life, and some of the most rewarding. At the time we weren't allowed to talk to anyone in the town we'd left from, which forced me to reach out when I might ordinarily have have kept looking back. I was made to rely on God, and He brought into our life an entire church family of people who loved us home, and who continue to shower us with love and appreciation each and every day. It's been an amazing experience.
However, when you move to a small town, one of the more intimidating things is how connected everyone is. Every one knows every one else; half of everyone else is related and those who aren't have been family friends for two or more generations. I still spend a great deal of time understanding the relationships and trying to learn the history of so many people. It can be daunting (though as a people watcher, I am finding a people history learner is equally entertaining). Many days I feel as though I am barely treading the surface of a very deep river. Time will change that to some extent, and to some extent I will always be a bit on the outside of fully knowing the history here. That's not at all a slight against Milledgeville; that's the way community works. Its history grows and evolves and changes, as people come and go, adding their own parts to the story of life.
This seems a long introduction to get to the point of what I want to say. This week, we were again blessed with the fabulous Cheri and her entourage of amazing children. I love when she is here for many, many reasons, but one that has stood out to me this visit is that she is one of the few connections from my then, to my now, and what's more, she knows the story of the bridge that spans that period of time. Anyone who has spent any time uprooted and adrift will know the comfort of things familiar. It is simply relaxing to speak at length with someone who knows every back story, who remembers your joys and your sorrows, and who has seen you travel enough life to accurately evaluate your thoughts and ideas. The pleasure of shared memories and the delicious entanglement of lives that unfold together bring me endless joy and new, amazing perspectives all at the same time.
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable facets of sharing life with a long time friend here in this time of newness, is that it isn't just part of my past, but her life is weaving into my present as well. My friends in this here and now are becoming her friends. In all the tumble and change that this life has brought and will continue to bring, it is good to have strong cords that bind so many of the pieces together. To watch how God has woven even one thread of love through so many years is breathtaking, and when I widen my scope, I can see that He is doing the same with my life in others', and in their lives through still more in a tapestry that defies description.
These are the sorts of thoughts that I labor to birth into words that mean something to anyone but me here at this blog. While the idea of connections may bring some small comfort, it is a far greater miracle to be allowed to experience so deeply the connections God creates from our past, through our present and far into our future. I am so grateful that the visit of one friend for a few short days is a gift of such incredible beauty and grace. In it, I am not only reconnected to so much of my life that has passed and is still unfolding, but connected to God without whom the pattern would completely unravel and devolve into chaos. His goodness is woven and connected through all the parts of my life. The finished product will be nothing short of divine.