I didn’t know when I stepped over that threshold what turn my life was about to take. The year was 2015. Now, try to remember what a pre-pandemic world looked like with me for a moment. Large groups of people gathering, no masks, weekly church services in person, gyms that were open and busy.
Since coming home from college recently, I was trying out a few new things. For one: crossfit. I loved it. It made me feel grounded, active, and strong. I had a great group in the gym that supported me and loved me and I was part of something important: a team. However, I was missing the equivalent in my spiritual life.
Enter Ashley. To be honest, I’m not even really sure how we became friends. Except to say I liked her. I needed her. She balanced me. And friends we did become! She, like everyone else who will appear in this series, is one of the most valuable people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing.
It was under the recommendation of Ashley and her husband Jonny that I attend this Neighborhood group with them. “It’s not all married people”, they told me. “There’s a lot of different life stages, you’ll love it!”.
A neighborhood group wasn’t a new concept to me. As far as a few weeks previously, I had been plugged into my own neighborhood group for over a year. I loved it and I missed it when it disbanded.
Why not, I thought. I didn’t have anything else to lose. Except, I wasn’t prepared to go, not that evening! I had shown up to Ashley’s house to surprise her with a meal after a workout in the area. I hadn’t showered, still had my sweaty gym clothes on, and well let’s just say I wasn’t going to pull off an “I woke up like this” award.
For whatever reason, she convinced me to go. It won’t matter, you don’t need to shower, she kept telling me. While she was definitely wrong about not needing a shower (read: small living room cramped with people and your girl somewhere in the middle. Sorry, friends.), she certainly was right that it didn’t matter. This group, like I mentioned above, became some of the most valuable people I’ve had the privilege of knowing. Starting with Ashley.
Ashley’s invitation helped shape the woman I am today. She invited me into a tender part of her life that ended up being my home for the next six years.
This crew became my home away from home, my greatest blessing, and my comfort zone. I know love differently now because of the role of each person in this group, and I understand friendship in a new way. The crew. My crew. I am so thankful for their love, connection, and support. In this series, I’ll be introducing you to who I believe to be some of the best people this world has ever seen, starting with Ashley.