coming home…

I’ve had a couple of hard but good conversations this week with friends from Chicago. I think we’re all feeling the loss of each other. We were so intertwined in our growing and our faith, in our parenting and our lives as spouses…it was hard for me to imagine that coming here to TN I’d ever find a community of women that would equal the support I had gotten from these Chicago Wise Women.

So after three and a half years it’s taken a lot of energy and a lot of focus but I have found a wide base of support. I have started deep, meaningful relationships with these TN Wise Women…and I cannot fathom how I’d have survived out here without them. I do not take lightly the relationships that were built and kept in Chicago nor the ones that are being built and nurtured here. It’s miraculous to me. I’m overcome with it all when I stop to think about it.

This morning as I thought about the hard conversations I had this week with Chicago friends I was struck by how formative their voices have been in my life and how thankful I am for that. The women I’m friends with here in TN are direct beneficiaries of the bricks that these beautiful Chicago women put in place with me so many years ago. Their speaking into me even after I left and their willingness to hear me speak into them from so far away is a testimony of the bonds that come with authenticity, integrity and love in friendships.

What is striking me just now is the idea of coming home. I do consider my home to be where I am living with my family of course. My home is here with this community now and yet there is another kind of “home” too. In so many ways Chicago feels like home because that’s where this community of women reside. They aren’t friends anymore, they are family….so Chicago is also home.

“Coming home” means visiting but it also means hearing from my “friend-family” members there, it means reaching out and being willing to be examined from 500 miles away and being willing to examine them in the same, loving way. That is coming home too. It’s scary to be honest. I want to put on my best face but I commit to being authentic. I want them to know the loss I have for them but I also want them to know I’m alright. It’s hard to walk with any certainty.

The hardest part about coming home is that it is humbling. These are people who knew me in my emotional and spiritual infancy and chose to love me anyway. It’s humbling to have people know me so deeply. It’s humbling to be allowed to see into them just as deeply.

So today I’m thankful beyond compare. I don’t even know what to do with this joy except to take hold of my children and husband for random acts of hugging, let it spill out in the exchanges I have with local “friend-family” members and write about it.

so there’s that.

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