We were only living there for five months. Five months of unknown, five months of transition, five months of waiting for my husband’s next career move to fall into place. We had taken big steps of faith, and Colorado Springs was the intermission connecting where we had been and where we were going.
Five months that threatened loneliness, living there long enough to sense the emptiness without friends but too short to actually walk the long road that real relationships require.
I ran into her at an event we went to one Thursday evening. An acquaintance, more a friend of my sister’s than my own. But we crossed paths and immediately she said, “We are having y’all over for dinner. What are you doing Tuesday night? Come over.”
And so we shared a meal that Tuesday. One of those meals where you linger at the table long after you’ve finished. One of those meals where at the beginning you hardly knew each other and at the end all four of you have shed tears at some point. One of those meals.
And before we left that night she told me that I had to come to the women’s Bible study the next week. I told her, “Julie, I’m outgoing and I still chickened out last week. You have to be so brave to walk into a room when you’re the new girl.”
She wouldn’t have it.
And so I went the next Tuesday to the Bible study and there she was, waiting at the entrance for me. She had waited to greet me, walk me in, and show me to our table. In her hands was a book for me to borrow as a follow up from our conversation over dinner.
And then she called me the next week to check up on me. She told me she was with me in this… and then she was with me in this.
See, she had her friends and her three kids and their busy world and her husband’s job that blurred boundaries between work and family. Julie knew she didn’t have a lot to give me. But she gave me what she could. A dinner over. A book to borrow. Phone calls and texts to follow up on our talks. Grace and love and compassion and more grace.
She showed me that always, no matter what, there is room at the table.
I’ve been on the side where I felt my table was too full to add another place. I had my friends and my schedule and my kids and my husband and my job and my exhaustion and my busy.
But this time, on the other side of the table, the side that needed someone to open up their heart even just a little bit, I witnessed how loudly the small whispers of love could sing. I saw that little, consistent acts of love could build a bridge over any amount of hurt.
Julie would probably say that she didn’t do nearly as much as she wished. But to me, to the new girl, the one going through a hard season, the one on the other side of the table, her acts painted love over my weary heart. Because Jesus shows up at the dinner table just as much as He does on Sunday mornings. He shows up in a phone call just as much as a sermon.
And so now, as I will surely encounter women in shoes similar to mine, ones I don’t know well, ones who need a friend, ones who might be new, I will remember what Julie did for me. I will remember the little acts that are not so little. I will remember how very much it restored me when she went just a little out of her way to get in mine.
She saw and she acted and she made room for me at the table. And so now I know how to make room at mine.
Have you experienced a friendship that helped renew your spirit? Has someone gone above and beyond for you? I would love to hear about it in the comments!