Monday, November 23, 2009

Beautiful Word: Together

I’m no longer living in that college world, surrounded by people who are all my own age and share my interests, and ready to pick up and do anything on a moment’s notice. I do miss it. Even when I was a young adult I was usually on the edges of some sort of crowd or clique, and now there isn’t anything like that for me.

Now the majority of the people around me live lives rooted in family relationships. Especially at church, everything seems oriented around the family. That's a good thing; can’t complain. But sometimes it’s hard to know how to take it, how to respond.

Among the huge advantages of being a single woman who likes and enjoys people are that I can make a way into those networks with relative ease, if I try. Oh, I won’t crash the marriage and parenting class, or join the men’s ministry, but I can make my way into a lot of places and find a welcome there.

In some ways it’s harder than when I was younger, though. I think people in different “demographics” are surprised that I want to be with them. The moms, so focused on relating to other moms and kids, don’t expect me to be interested in their world. But they let me in. And groups of men who aren’t used to having many female friends are often disarmed when they discover that I can speak their language too. I find common ground easily enough with people within a decade or two of my age. And those cross-cultural tricks I’ve learned over the years apply just as well close to home as they do for crossing greater divides. So, my social graces, while still rough around the edges, are more refined than they were. I’m a reasonably good friend-maker.

This next year promises some changes that will force me to be more deliberate about cultivating and maintaining relationships.

I’ll probably write more about that as things unfold.

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