Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Breathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

My son is a lego builder.  He constructs amazing creations (without instructions) out of those primary color pieces.  The building process begins as a huge mess on the floor - individual lego pieces strewn across the ground.  Slowly, thoughtfully and creatively a work of art is created from that initial pile of chaos.  How those pieces go from being singular blocks that are hazards to the feet when tread upon, to a beautiful, well-built network, boggles my mind.  But they do...and this week it reminded me very much of how we {re}build a life after a major move.

Four years ago we moved to the Pacific Northwest from the desert Southwest - different climate, different culture, and most ominously, no support structure.  We left family and friends to move to a place where we knew no one.  Our life was a bucket of legos spilled on the floor - pieces disconnected and far from being networked with one another.

Being the expert lego master I am (NOT!!), I put together rudimentary structures - grocery stores, schools, doctors - all things a new-to-town family needs.  It was my best attempt to create something, but was boxy, simple and boring.  (And honestly....that is the extent of my real lego building skills - squares and boxes!  Ughhh!!)

What I needed was the skill of my son - to see the parts and pieces, be patient and create something intricate and amazing.  But how do you do that with your life in a brand new city?  My answer....time, vulnerability and perseverance.

It takes time to build a new life (and I hate that fact!!).  We have to log many hours with people that will eventually turn into friends....but it is different from when we were in high school or college.  Now we have so many more things to give our time to...and so does everyone else.

It takes vulnerability.  We have to say we are new, say we need help, share our stories.  I had to be so vulnerable as to look at some new folks in my life and say "I need a friend"!!  Most of them were shocked because:
1.  they thought I had it "all together" and
2.  they had never moved away from their support system before and never thought about it...or
(I guess there is a third option.. they were so shocked because they had never seen anyone so desperate before!!  Just kidding!!)

It takes perseverance.  Not everyone I've met wants to be my friend and that has been hurtful.  Not everyone wants to hear my story.  When I wish someone would call me, I've learned to call them even though I feel like a burden and a big dork!!  We stay at it, not because it is fun, but because we need a network of friends.

Piece by piece, over these last few years - through lots of frustration and tears, a network of friends has emerged.  I realized it this week as two emergencies happened:

I got in a car accident (rear-ended, no one hurt except the car) and after the initial adrenaline rush I started to panic about who I could call to come help.  Almost immediately my fears calmed as I thought of one friend, then another and yet another.  (Not a lot, I know, but 3 or 4 friends in an emergency are better than 1000 acquaintances!)

The second emergency - taking my daughter to the ER (again...everything is OK) meant I needed someone to pick up my son.  I can't tell you how nice it was to call a friend who swooped in and took care of it all!!  Yet a few other friends have texted to be sure we were OK and offer their services (and cars!!).

It was as though this week I got to step back a little from trying to piece together my mess of legos - that I got to see a new life was actually coming into formation!

So what to do with all this?  (After all, hopefully inspiration leads to action).  If you find yourself in a new city, trying to build a new life....give it time.  Be patient with yourself and with others.  Be willing to go out on a limb and tell someone what you need from might be surprised how it builds a friendship.  Keep at it.  Somewhere out there are people you will connect with...keep trying to find them!

And if you are not new, would you do me a favor?  FIND SOMEONE NEW TO TOWN and stick to them!  Ask them to join you for holidays.  (You know those Memorial Day barbeques coming up?  Well, those new people don't have anyone to be with or anywhere to go!)  Try to meet practical needs....and here is a good test.  Anything you would rely on family or friends for, offer to do or be that for the new person.  (Example:  be the emergency contact on their child's school registration.  It is a little thing, but daunting when you are new-to-town-with-no-support-system.)

May we all step in, help pick up the multi-colored pieces, and help build this structure called life!  May we connect with one another in this vast, multifaceted network.  And may we be surprised with joy at both the process and the final creation!

Breathe, smile and go slowly.

1 comment:

Ash Tray said...

Have you been reading my mail? Preach it girl.