Let’s be brutally honest here: I moved 6,000 miles away from home leaving pretty much everything behind to come and make a new life for myself in South Africa. In all of the excitement, I completely forgot about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to pack my friends in a box for them to come with me. And I have to say, when it came to saying goodbye to everyone, I broke and felt like someone had torn a hole in me; something that I had never felt before. Even thinking about that moment makes me well up!
I knew that God was calling me to be in South Africa and that He would provide all I needed for me to make it through the year. And one of those provisions was going to have to be some pretty amazing friends. But something that skipped my mind was that friendships take time to develop. Now, I have made some awesome friends and I will definitely keep them with me for the rest of my life. However, I do still feel like there is that hole in me. Whenever I think about the friends that I left behind, I break down because I feel like I don’t have anything like that here.
Thankfully, my friends from the UK are all very good at keeping in touch. I regularly FaceTime Rebz and have some pretty entertaining conversations with the ‘Fictional Character Emotional Support Group’. I will often see a message pop up from a school friend or a church friend. And I am so appreciative of that and that I have friendships that will stretch the extra mile (excuse the pun) to make it work for us.
I feel like I am saying ‘but’ a lot in this post. But I feel like there is good reason for it. As much as I can try and fill my head with the good things – my friends are staying in touch and I am making some friends here – there is still that niggle at the back of my mind that makes me think of the hole that is inside. Yet, this is not something that I want to be at the back of my mind. This is because I want to try and make sense of the feeling and do something about it rather than just leaving it and feeling sorry for myself.
So, what am I doing to make myself feel better?
- Going to places where I can interact with other people of my age group. I have decided (with the help of a little nudge from people like Cheryl) that I am going to go to places where I know young adults go to so I can meet people with the same mindset as myself etc. I think that in just meeting new people, more friendships will form, in turn making me feel better about having the majority of my friends 6,000 miles away.
- Make more of an effort to try and meet up with people. I have found that there are specific days of my week which can get a little bit lonely if I don’t plan anything. So, over the last couple of weeks, I have made a little bit more effort and it has really been helping. Knowing that I have something to do on a Saturday evening is quite nice and reassuring!
- Reminding myself of God’s promises for me. If I am feeling particularly lonely, the one thing that makes me feel better instantly is to shove on some Christian music and sit and read my Bible. There are some great verses in there that help to remind me that I have a constant friend in Him and that what I am doing is all to bring Him glory.
- “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3 vs 5-6)
- “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” (Psalm 34 vs 18)
- “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11 vs 28)
- “The Father of compassion… comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1 vs 3-4)
- “But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3 vs 13-14)