I have been on the move most of my life. Experiences from shifting house, flying, and packing are buried deep within me. A related experience to each is the process of meeting friends for the first time. I wish I could say that the process has gotten easier. I find that meeting potential friends for the first time is still difficult.
As I meet potential friends, I find myself rediscovering my first experiences I was four years old. The transition between being a block from the original Shakey’s pizza parlor to suburbs was hard on multiple levels. The old house had fun stairs and familiar hiding places. We were close to my favorite food, pizza. I know that this was the only place my parents would take my brother and I, yet we still saw it as uniquely ours. The new house was in a neighborhood filled with unknowns. There was no pizza to be seen. The nearest Dairy Queen (milkshakes) was a short drive or long bicycle ride away. Then there were the neighborhood kids.
Everyone in the neighborhood knew each other. We were the strange (new) kids! They hung out with each other in their homes. We had never done that. They ran free during the day. We were always checking in, just in case. They had comic books. We had never been able to have one of our own.
The familiarity was overwhelming. It was as if they had constructed a wall. No matter what we might do, we knew we would never have the depth of experience they already shared.
When I read an old story, where “some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and took us to the home of Mnason, who received us warmly as his guests. A native of Cyprus, he had been among the earliest disciples.” (Acts 21.16) I realize that the barriers in my childhood did not last long. Tim took us in. He lived two doors down. He was excited to have new friends. His warmth was the key to an open door.