This week I'm celebrating my first six months in Nashville. Of all the things I was worried about, making new friends was at the top of the list.
I was unbelievably lucky to already have my best friend here so it wasn't as if I had to start completely from scratch. Visiting Tracy and Joel over the past six years had also allowed me to become friends with some of their friends, another blessing. Still, I didn't want to become a burden to them. It was important for me to become friends with other singles, as all my Nashville friends were married and mostly with children. This doesn't mean that married folks and single folks don't understand each others' differences but that sometimes you want to be with other people in the same life stage as you.
I'm an excellent listener and I'm horrible at small talk. I love finding out people's stories. However, I feared that no one would want to hear mine. I worried that Tracy and Joel would get tired of having me around. I was scared that I'd move here and find myself without community.
My fears were quickly laid to rest.
1) One of my favorite things about any visit to see Tracy and Joel pre-move was attending their church. No matter who spoke that morning, I always left feeling I knew God better than I had before. It would be one of the highlights of the weekend. Sadly, that's not something one can say about every church.
It was a relief to not have to go church shopping. Few things make a single person lonelier than checking out a new church. Fellowship's membership class started 2 weeks after I moved and so I dove in with both feet.
I cannot even express how blessed I am to attend this church on a weekly basis. I always walk away fed. The sermon series on Genesis blew my mind on a regular basis- no small feat for someone born and raised in the church. The worship portion of the service often brings me to tears. I cannot help but be thankful and praise God for bringing me here.
2) My community group is newly formed, although the leaders led another CG before this. We're still getting to know each other but my sense is that these are people that will challenge and encourage me. I'm the only single in the group, which lends an interesting dynamic, but I believe that I am able to challenge and encourage them too.
3) In September, I started going to a Beth Moore Bible study at church on Monday nights. One of my coworkers had been looking for a B. Moore study and so she is there too. I seriously love our discussion group. We've had some amazing conversations and really fostered intimacy quickly. When I told them the other week I wasn't sure I wanted to do the winter/spring curriculum because of the subject matter, they kindly listened to my concerns and then told me I had no choice but to do it. We have become a feisty yet vulnerable community. I was so touched that they wanted me to keep going that I decided to sign up for the next study. It may challenge me or not but I know I'm not ready to stop meeting with my discussion group! Tonight we plan to have dinner at Sopapilla's since the Breaking Free study has ended.
4) I have amazing coworkers! First, I work with well over 20 other social workers who are fabulous. From orientation to on-call situations, everyone is supremely helpful, no matter what else they have going on. I am so not used to this! It's been fun getting to know everyone, whether grabbing a quick lunch at Mr. Burrito Fresh (best nachos ever!) or going out for drinks after work. Second, the sickle cell and brain tumor teams have been great about pulling me in on patients and families. I've especially enjoyed getting to know the case managers and NPs better.
5) Then there's the random connections. Neighbors. Friends of friends who live in Nashville. Chance meetings at church or concerts. Face-to-face get togethers with bloggers I've followed. Such a small world we live in!
Joel is the older brother I never knew I always wanted. He has graciously allowed me to be a part of his family. I am so grateful for his wisdom and still find him to be one of the funnier people in my life.
And then there's the icing on the cake. My sweet niece-in-love Anna. She brings me such joy! I have loved watching her grow. I was just looking at pictures of her in May- she is so much bigger now! Being an auntie is the absolute best. While I miss the other kiddos in my life that are back in Illinois, I am so glad that I get to see this little girl as much as I do.
So there you have it. This is the start of the community I'm forming in Nashville. I'm starting to become busier as these relationships have developed. It's exciting to see how God has placed some of us together, what I can bring to their lives and what they can bring to mine. Music buddies, book lovers, and more. I think this is just the beginning...