December 15, 2015
I've been asked the same question a lot lately. "What do you miss most about Alabama?" My answer is always primarily the same - I miss my friends, my family and the community of people I had around me. I say it with a sincerity but not necessarily a sadness because even while I am missing my Alabama community, I'm being lucky enough to be missing them while I am currently building an absolutely stellar Houston community.
I have found myself in this situation before. Thoroughly enjoying new friendships while also missing those friends that already know me so well. Feeling all the feels while transitioning into a new stage (welcome to the life of a mega-feeler). Longing to be with the ones that "get me," and already know my stories and my struggles and my personality tendencies, but loving the chance to get to know new and different ones. Thankfully, though, this feeling never goes away, which is secretly the best because it just means that the list of the ones that know me so well just gets longer (insert hearts as eyes emoji here).
I've always been a collector of sorts. As a bitty child I collected stuffed animals (what sane child didn't amiright?). I had one of those stuffed animal hammocks that you could hang in the corner of your room for all of your fake furry friends to chill on as they watched your every move (supes creepy). As I grew older and (sort of) more mature, I collected both tea sets and Madame Alexander dolls. I know - I was like the most precious and girly child ever (that refused to wear dresses). Except that I lost pieces to my tea sets and let my dolls' hair get nappy. In middle school I went through a fabulous ladybug phase (KatieBug...lady bug - you see how this so easily happened), and in high school I was a straight hippie child with all the tie dye and peace signs.
Eventually all of these phases came to a close and all of the items have been boxed up to be stored or sold. But even though my little sweet apartment, here in Houston, is void of the tea sets and the tie dye and the stuffed animals and the lady bugs - I'm definitely still a collector.
A collector of people.
(that line is not meant to be creepy)
With every city, state and country I've lived in (just the US and Peru, let's not make me sound cooler than I am), I have had the beautiful opportunity (and super annoying and CHARMING ability to force people to be my friends whether they want to be or not) to collect people as I travel through life. From churches, schools, dance classes, fitness classes, internships, mission trips, coffee shops, work places, etc, etc, etc, I have a wonderful collection of friends and acquaintances that have impacted me in one way or another. They make the world seem smaller, the problems seem easier to endure, and the victories sweeter to celebrate. They have shaped me, challenged me, spoken life and truth into me. They are my prized possessions. My favorite things of all. For so long I tried to figure out what it was that "my thing" would be. What would I collect to line my bookshelves with year after year. I finally realize that "my thing" is people. People are what I love. People that are complex and lovely and messy and have incredible stories. People that make life worth living on this earth and that help me grow closer to God with their faith and testimonies. People that are broken and vulnerable and raw and real. People of all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, ages, religions, political parties. Some that are still here on earth and some very special ones that aren't. People. That is what I collect.
So if you're reading this then you are in my collection and I thank you for being you. Whether our lives have crossed for a season, an eternity, sporadically, or even just virtually, I am happy to know you and am most thankful for you this Christmas season.