Don’t get me wrong – the title of this post does not mean that the two are mutually exclusive. I have friends who are members of churches my husband has served and friends who aren’t. But I’m learning that there is a difference between the two.
When I shared the news about the miscarriage, I did it in three ways: phone calls (to family), this blog, and email. The third one is how I began to distinguish the difference. You see, I only sent the email to a select group of people. As I went through my address book, I thought through whether my relationship with the person was close enough to warrant sharing the news, and also if I thought that they would truly want to know. I know that people in general care (I even had a comment from a stranger on my last post!) but sometimes when you move elsewhere there are relationships that just plain end.
I did leave a couple of people out who might have fit both criterea but I know just don’t check email very often. I’d hate to send it to them and have them email me back three months from now saying, “I just saw this, I’m so sorry!” That puts them in an awkward position.
But this process helped me to see that I really need to update my email address book. There are several people from our last congregation still on that list with whom I did not feel comfortable sharing the news. Those relationships have closed. In some cases, that’s ok. In others, it’s sad but I’m learning to move on.
When we were at that congregation, I would have considered some of them to be “friendly” but not “friends.” Friends are the people who will listen to your issues just because it’s you. Friends are the ones who pray for your needs. Friends are the folks who love you even when you leave. Friends are the ones who miss you for you, not just because they miss your husband’s way of leading church.
I’m learning that it’s important to have friends in the congregation and friends outside of it. I still struggle with finding people who fit the second category, but I’m taking it one day at a time. I guess that’s how a lot of my life is going these days.
Thank you all for your well wishes, prayers, concerns, etc. It is greatly appreciated.