Approximately 1.281 million people inhabit my home city, Dallas, TX. Roughly 230 public schools and more private schools than I care to count serve well over 300,000 students here. Something like 60 companies, headquartered in Dallas, brought in over a billion dollars last year; that’s a lot of employees earning their bread and butter in Big D. There stand a few more than 1,700 churches in Dallas, many of them housed on prime real estate, in bustling areas of established neighborhoods.
In short, there are people EVERYWHERE in Dallas. However, we all know how the story goes.
It’s easy to be in a room full of people and feel completely alone. When I moved here years ago, this city seemed to be swarming with people and completely void of personality. Suffering from a tinge of culture shock, which now I realize happens to most people who move away from Austin, TX, I found a comfortable spot in my living room and judged the city from afar. I found a job that kept me busy, started graduate school in an effort to stay even busier, and found hobbies that allowed me to do just what I wanted — stay busy enough so I didn’t have to make new friends.
Within a few years, I learned “my problem” wasn’t that the city was void of personality. The problem was me.
I had decided that all of the people here fit the clichés and there just simply wasn’t a place for me in Dallas. Over time, exhausted from feeling so lonely in the crowded rooms, I decided to open up my heart and learn how to make adult friends. The kinds of friends that would be around for a while.
These women were dear. They understood why all of my black t-shirts got tossed for a while because babies on shoulders invite messes that drip, crusty and sticky. They held me in long hugs, longer than I was be comfortable in, because they cared more about loving me than my desire for distance. They cried and laughed about husband quirks and dirty laundry and neighborhood gossip because they wanted to know me.
These women are who I referenced last week as “my girls.” I have a handful of dear friends in different circles, some in my old neighborhood and some here in my new, a few from my kids’ school, and even a few from my college and high school days that I love, trust and talk with, effortlessly. But these girls I’m referencing are more like family.
They will be making the meal list and crowding around me when my first real family crisis happens and I have zero capacity to do anything except disbelieve what is happening. They will take turns holding my hand when I can’t see or feel anything real. Their names will appear on my adult children’s wedding invitation lists because they are my people, and they are part of the reason my children are still alive.
Despite that I know how they will care for my future, what is beautiful and wonderful is what these girls are doing right now. They are living out the courage it takes to be women who love Jesus, offer up their individual gifts to him, and raise the next generation of young women to see God as the one who defines worth and value and beauty. Together, they make up a community of women who embolden me to speak about how our Holy God desires his people to live free, unhindered by lies.
Here’s to meeting them — next week.