On my internship application I wrote, "Must be within driving distance of family" and listed the various states I had relatives in. I have none in Montana, and one cousin in North Dakota. So technically, Billings fits the bill. But it is a far cry from being near family like I have been my entire life. My supervisors tell me that they almost didn't interview me when they saw that caveat on my application. I recall it was the first question they asked me, though. My response: "God has a sense of humor... and every where is driving distance if you have the time."
And here I am, over 20 hours from my closest family. In a strange way, the depression caused by this fact has also been the catalyst to force myself into community here. For instance, I saw a preview for that new movie, Tangled, and wanted to go (please note my love of Disney...). So I asked the awesome 12 year old girl in my congregation to go with me. We had a great time giggling over Justin Bieber in the previews and talking about school and life.
I'm trying to wear a different set of glasses that shows me that I am actually surrounded by new family members. People I have yet to know but that are eager to get to know me... if I'll only let them. It is a complex dance - forming community. But I am finding it is as vital for me as my own heartbeat. I am happiest surrounded by family. And while I look forward to the time when I can once again embrace the family that has known me since my birth, tis the season to embrace my brothers and sisters in Christ that are with me now.
For all those far from family this holiday season, may God bless you with moments of lightness and peace as you look with hope towards the ones who do surround you this season. Amen