Ramblings, Relational

it’s hard to find a friend

Has anyone else listened to this album?  It’s one of my favorite’s by Pedro the Lion…there’s just a great flow to the songs, and an honesty to the lyrics.  I love it, and highly recommend it.

I was thinking about the album today…not because I had listened to it lately, but because the truth of the album title has slowly been revealing itself to me since we’ve moved to LA. 

It’s hard to find a friend. 

Three summers ago I had a summer internship in LA.  Not really knowing anybody, I spent a lot of time alone…driving around or sitting on the beach or in my apartment.  One of my teachers/mentors from high school was out here for a conference and we got together for lunch.  He was asking me how I was doing, and I talked a bit about how I was a bit lonely.  He sat back in his chair, and said that he thought that periods of loneliness can often take place in, or lead to a kind of spiritual pilgrimage, in which one can emerge with insights that we might usually miss with our busy lives. 

I thought there was something deep and profound in what he said…and I don’t know if I understood it at the time. 

I probably still can’t quite understand it now, either.  But I feel like I’m in another one of those seasons.  Ironically enough, I am back in LA…apparently my spiritual pilgrimage is cyclical.  Or LA is just a lonely town.  Both may be true. 

Only now it’s is a different kind of lonely.  I am here in LA with my wife…who is my greatest friend…but we are lonely together.  Lonely for people that we can hang out with as couples, and as individuals.  We both came from extremely busy and social lives in Madison…and now we are here, with each other, and not much else.  Just us and our two goldfish, on some kind of spiritual pilgrimage.  I love my wife, and she loves me, and we adore spending time with each other, but we still have a longing to be known by others.  I think that is normal. 

We went to church today.  One of Krissy’s friends, Jessica, told her that she and her husband realized that right after a move Sunday’s can be some of the loneliest days.  Today was a lonely day.  We’re so used to being deeply involved and connected in a local church…there is a beauty to a place like that, where you are known and loved by many.  We long for that kind of connection, and we both know that it will happen again…but it’s not always a quick process. 

One of my great friends, Mike, just moved to Chicago.  In an e-mail to me, he said that he would love a friend…that “just one would do.”  Today I repeated those same words to my wife.  And she knew exactly what I meant.  She felt the same way. 

There are a lot of lonely people in this world.  Some of us have just recently moved, and feel like strangers.  Some have lived in the same neighborhood all their lives, and feel isolated from everyone around them.  Some people just don’t feel like they will ever fit in.  We can walk around and smile and laugh like we are fine…but on the inside the loneliness hurts.  Sometimes it is sharp and bitter, and other times it can be like a dull ache. 

Maybe that’s one of the insights I will gain from this pilgrimage.  A firsthand knowledge of loneliness that I had forgotten about.  A newfound empathy for those who are starving to death…not because they lack food, but because they lack love and value poured into them by other people. 

I want this to be a time of learning.  A period of growth.  But I won’t pretend that I am not anxiously awaiting this time to be over. 

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5 thoughts on “it’s hard to find a friend

  1. Mike says:

    some things i’ve realized…having zero to one friend (i’ve lost count) has made me read more, which i really enjoy. i find it really hard to read when i’m all busy with typical life.
    another thing, i’ve realized is who in my life is really important to me. i think a lot about the people who i really miss and want to talk to. it’s surprising that there are so few of those people in my life; i thought i would have had a least a hundred of them. so it’s interesting to think about why those are the particular people that i long for when i’m lonely. yeah, it’s really not about who you have fun with, it’s about who actually knows you.
    i think that it’s lonely no matter where you go. i think it’s lonely in chicago. i also thought it was lonely in madison my first couple years there; although i fully expect that we’ll find both LA and chicago to be unlonely in less than two years…likely in a lot less than a year. really, we’re both blessed to be well-equiped at knowing how to make friends.
    on that note, i’m glad now that i know i have to actually try to find friends; i can’t just hope that they will find me in my dorm room or on the sidewalk. i guess that’s one very valuable lesson i learned in college.
    on the upside of not having a friend, it’s made me even more thankful that i have an amazing girl by my side.

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  2. When we took our kids out of their home environment to New Zealand for a year (Krissy was in 7th grade then) I was hoping that it would increase their understanding of what it is like to be the “new” person who doesn’t know anyone. It gives you a different perspective. I think it made them more aware of other lonely people.

    Very soon you all will be surrounded by great friends. That is inevitable! But don’t ever forget what its like to be that new person who doesn’t know anyone, and is longing for someone to call or stop by.

    I am excited to watch your new friendships develop in the next few years. I think you’ll be amazed!

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  3. Still following you two in prayer. I know the feeling, if not the music. It took me a year or so to feel I’d really made friends when we last moved. Is it long before you start study/work?

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  4. Fiona, thanks for your thoughts and prayers! I still have two weeks before classes will start for me…and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to start a job later this week…so not too long now before we’re both busy and interacting with other people!

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