I met with my New Book Club for the first time. Super nice women, teetering on the edge of hilarity. Delicious eats. Did you know there’s such thing as Salty ‘n Sweet Caramel dip? Oh, yes, there is. If you use it to dip apples it would be “healthy”. Apparently using a spoon is frowned upon by the tummy gods. And the book? We read The Fault in Our Stars, an up-and-coming favorite and reportedly the quickest book-turned-movie in history. (Spoiler alert: it’s a book about teenagers with cancer. Well, not too spoiled – you learn about it in the first few pages. But be prepared to cry.)
So all these elements mark New Book Club into the win column. But I drove home feeling like a rain cloud hovered above me while everyone else’s atmosphere yielded sunshine and ice cream cones.
It wasn’t the same.
I didn’t hear Sarah’s voice tattering on about who would play the lead roles in the coming movie. I missed Kristy’s avid agreement with lead character Hazel Grace when she said “funerals are for the living.” I’m sure April would chime in about her time with teenagers and some introspect if one of them would have suffered the same fate. And Kristin would give a brilliant character analysis, mentioning something I hadn’t thought of before.
It’s not that my Old Book Club ladies are better at book clubbing than New Book Club. They’re just comfortable. We’ve already lived through the congealing process of a group, comfortable enough to hand out warning napkins when someone starts to slip in her dedication. We know which cupboard keeps the drinking glasses and when we sit at the table with a plateful of food, we start conversing with whomever sits beside us because there’s no “that girl” in the group. (Well, unless it was ME. Which runs a pretty good chance…)
While I’m so glad to have New Book Club in my life – because if first meetings are any indication, it’ll be fantastic – it also points to the large hole I’m trying to fill. It’s not until you’re shoveling in dirt that you realize just how deep the crevice actually is.
Unfortunately, this is the work of transplanting. I can’t expect New Book Club to pick up where Old Book Club left off. That was a solid 6 years together. We experienced first babies together, new marriages together. We faced cancer scares and post-baby issues. We vacationed together and cooked for one another and watched each others’ kids for free while we ran to the doctor.
Now these roots are trying to plant themselves in new soil and it’s not quite as comfortable. Surely when you uproot and replant a tree it takes time before it starts growing – let alone flourishing – again.
Everywhere I turn, and on nearly every night of the week, it seems, I find myself in a group hope-filled for meaningful, comfortable relationships. Yet my patience to allow these to form naturally – as opposed to forcing them to fit within the patterns that worked for me in the past – lags far, far behind. I’m only 2 years in to what took a solid 6-10 to form. Unfair comparison. But equally desirable. I know what can exists so I run for it even harder. Which, btw, is quite intimidating if you’re on the receiving end of my mad dash.
All I can do is impatiently enjoy what currently transpires. Laugh and chat with New Book Club and look forward to next month. Continue engaging the small talk while relationships begin to form. Fill my calendar with opportunities, expecting baby steps over leaps and bounds. Live expectantly, knowing good things – amazing people – do exist and will be slowly woven into the tapestry of my life here.
For a mere 2 years here, I do keep a good company. I’ve come into contact with some quality people. I simply need to stay the course and make myself open to developing these friendships. Turning around and running back isn’t an option (especially since we’re selling the house!). I must submit myself to the process – and maybe even enjoy getting to know this whole new landscape of persons.