Tuesday, August 30, 2011

carrying capacity, new orleans style

When we moved to New Orleans last year, amazing grace and comfort were waiting for us; we had ready-made insta-friends from our beautiful Young Life community. Put in microwave, open top to vent, heat for thirty seconds. Done! We loved people instantly and we were so grateful to be loved back instantly. Their presence breathed incredible peace into my heart and made me believe we could make a home here.

We had left behind another incredible community of folks in East Lansing, Michigan, that we loved desperately. Just thinking about them puts a HUGE silly grin on my face; if you ever hear me speak about this time, you'll think I'm looking back through rose-colored lenses. Except everything was actually totally 100% rosy all on its own! It was a time saturated with joy and vibrance and hilarity and honesty and deep, deep love, all happening by the hand of God. So many good people.

Somewhere in the middle of my time there, I wrote about the curious existence of a carrying capacity within the realm of human relationship. I was basically exploring the idea that you simply don't have the capability to be besties with everyone. I felt there were too many people in my life I wanted to know and love well, and I just...couldn't. There was not enough time. It made me kinda sad.

To be honest, I think I thought then that I was at a unique time in my life. College was practically 24/7 playtime, so there was plenty of time to pursue friends. I thought maybe that's why my friend circles were ginormous. Maybe whenever I became an adult the carrying capacity problem would disappear. I mean, do adults even hang out with their friends? I wasn't really sure.

But I was sure that 1. I loved and held dear those friendships that were deep and real, and 2. I constantly met people that I wanted to have deep relationships with, and 3. those relationships just can't always come to fruition.

In fact, deep relationships can really only happen with a few people in any given season. And for the first few months in New Orleans, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend all my time with our cozy circle of insta-friends.

But six months later, it's happened again. MEGA FRIEND CIRCLES!

If Coryell and I have a free evening, we have to have a serious conversation about who to call. Sometimes I just want to eenie-meenie the whole situation and not worry about the outcome. We have friends we wish we could see every week that we've hardly seen all summer, the insta-friends we want to see all the time, friends we see weekly at YL functions we wish we could just hang out with, and individual friends we want to spend time with. Not to mention family and friends in Michigan we're dying to skype and call and vidchat.

Last time around, the existence of a carrying capacity was a huge revelation for me. Since then I've been painfully- and increasingly- aware of it. Now I'm learning that not only does it exist, but it's okay that it exists. Some weeks I won't see my best friends. A month might even slip by without seeing them. Sometimes I will meet someone new and have to bite back the conventional, "We should get coffee sometime!" and it's okay because it's not who God has set before me to love at the time.

He has set before me first and foremost Himself-- then my husband, then family, friends, ministry, and community. And that is an order I can handle.

1 comment:

  1. just read this em! and i totally relate! i have been feeling this a lot lately, especially with so many new life experiences going on with all of my friends! it is so easy for me to start feeling out of the loop on people's lives and then i feel like i failed as a friend or something! but then i will go to the other extreme and just seclude myself and only talk to a few people all the time. so hard to balance! prays for you and thanks for your words of wisdom!! :)