(Latoya and Lyddie, picture by Morgan Granberry)
I have been watching a slowly budding friendship developing between my Lyddie and little Latoya over the past two years and I have a lot of joy watching this process. Yesterday at Kids Club, Latoya saw us and immediately came over to show us the headband craft she had just made and joined my girls and a few other children who had followed me over to do another craft along with us. She and Lyddie have been playing together a little all week and yesterday she kept smiling and reaching over to tickle Lyddie's neck to get her attention while they were coloring next to each other. Craft all finished, they got up to run around together, squealing and chasing each other with big happy smiles. The community the Lord is growing here in Hope Fellowship is really beautiful, especially in the midst of the chaos, struggle and pain of the larger community.
(Millie, Samantha, and Lyddie)
(Isaac and Asha)
As my daughters get older, I am excited about watching them grow into friendships with children here where we live. While we were in the process of support raising, I knew every friendship we developed "back home" would turn into long-distance friendships, including the friends Lyddie had. It isn't that these friendships are less important, but just, less daily. It stunned me yesterday that, for the first time, I am watching a little community develop around my children that, Lord willing, will be a long-term close-knit community lasting into youth group years and even beyond. This feels like such a privilege that I have never experienced before. I have enjoyed watching Lyddie and Millie become friends with little Cody, Lillian, Samantha, Isaac these past several months.
I will be honest and say my joy is tinged with sorrow because I am not blind and I know that by entering deeply into the messiness of life here my husband, my children and I will experience (and have already experienced) sorrow and suffering along with the children we love. And sometimes the beauty will seem stifled by the brokenness but in Tolkien's wise words, love, though mingled with grief, grows all the greater.