Friday, August 7, 2015

to be known.

I was ordering a book from Barnes and Noble the other day and the checkout page wasn't processing my membership correctly, thus charging me for shipping. Because I'm a B&N member, I should've gotten a discount on the book and free shipping but I didn't and I was upset. Naturally when someone is charging me more than they should and I'm upset, I call them up and tell them I don't like it. The customer service man was kind in hearing my problem and willing to help me out. But then he asked me a few "security questions". The first one being my membership number was easy. The second was my most recent mailing address.

I took a shot in the dark spouting off my most recent billing address. He responded with a slow "nooo?" and I quickly told him I moved recently and to try my Katy address. Again, I got a slow "nooo?" as a response. My hands got a little sweatier and my heart raced a little faster. I chuckled nervously and tried to explain that I move a lot and it's hard to keep track of what companies I update my address with and so it'd really be helpful if he could give me the city and I would tell him the house number and street name. He seemed to understand and told me my address in their system was in Kenosha, WI. Oh, great. Kenosha. I've lived at two different addresses in Kenosha. I started talking in super fast mode because I was embarrassed that I didn't know my own address and I just wanted to be able to order my new book with free shipping. I explained that it could be two different addresses and to be honest, I don't know the house number to either of them. Long story short, I begged for another security question because that one was obviously a struggle and I wasn't winning the war any time soon. He understood and my book should be arriving on my doorstep today with free shipping!

After I got off the phone with the customer service man, I started thinking about how many addresses could have possibly been in their system. I counted eight. Eight places I have called home in the past five years. Eight addresses I've memorized the address for and gotten mail at. Eight places I've had my own bed at and laid my head down for more than just a few nights. 

For a girl that hates change, I immediately thought, how in the world did I do that? How did I survive? How did I not quit at number four? And I think it all comes down to one simple answer. People knew me in those places. I'm not talking they knew my name and that I drove a jeep and I drank coffee. They knew me on a much deeper level. They knew I had heartache and pain. They knew I wrestled with thoughts that don't make sense to me. They knew I take my coffee with a little cream and one packet of sweet 'n low. They knew I have terrible vision and can't see anything without my glasses or contacts. They knew my family and could call them by name. They knew me. 

Let me back up for a second and tell you something important. I didn't always move to places where people already knew me, although sometimes I did. Mostly, I moved places where I had to get to know people and they had to get to know me. We had to learn these things about each other. 

The first place I moved that I had to get to know people and vice versa was college. I didn't know a soul. We all know the fear of a poor little freshman scared to make friends, but even more scared to not have any friends. You've felt it, right? So when a girl came to my door and invited me to come to a bible study later in the week, I jumped at the opportunity. I went back week after week and started realizing that these people, especially this girl, wanted to know me. She wanted to know where I came from and where I was going. She wanted to know what made me tick and what brought me joy. This girl stood by my side a few weeks ago at our wedding. Why? Because after 6 years of friendship she knows me and I know her. In our deepest places, we are known and still loved. 

Even scarier still and with much more change, I packed Mr. Jeep as full as I possibly could and drove across country to Colorado. People didn't know me there at all. Nor did I know them. But all ten of us moved into a giant house together. We made meals together. We celebrated birthdays and holidays together. We shoveled snow together. And most importantly, we gathered in a living room every Thursday night together. We told each other about who we are and who we want to become. We shared the hard times that made us stronger and the times we're still fearful of. We got to truly and deeply know each other and we became family. 

In the in-between I also moved home. Home to where I didn't need to explain myself or practice that getting to know you. The coffee was already made when I woke up because mom just knows. And dad already planned dinner because he just knows. And Brad and Kelly already planned the day because they just know. We need this sometimes too, where don't need to explain or open up because we already have.

Most recently I made the move to Katy, Texas. This one was a little different because the move didn't have an expiration date and I didn't have a job waiting for me there. I didn't know anyone outside of my fiance and his family. But my saving grace was our small group. It was extremely important to Roy and I that we made friends and had a community in Katy so Roy did everything in his power to find that before I moved. And when I got here, we opened our lives up to them. We get together every Thursday night and sometimes on the weekend. We let them in to see the bruises and dirt. We let them see the joys and the sorrows. And six months later, I can say these people know me here. 

If you've ever moved to someplace new or changed jobs or walked in to a room full of strangers, you know the feeling. Something deep inside you drops when you realize that you are a nobody among somebodies. People don't know you. And even if they happen to know your name and three facts about you, they still don't really know you. It's scary and it's hard. But I encourage you today to let somebody in. Nobody is going to know you unless you let them. Invite them in to your messy home. Tell them about that one time it hurt too much to talk. Show them the ridiculous hair you had at age 6 and the time you broke your pinky finger. Tell them about your Barbie movie obsession in high school and your fears about being single forever. Cry with them. Laugh with them. Love them and you will be known. It is a gift. 

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