I've been feeling really isolated lately because of a conflict between my age, my values and beliefs, my job, my family structure, and my location compared to others that I would consider my friends.
I am young, only a few years out of college, and made some GREAT friends in college that really gave me a safe community to grow in. I married one of those people right out of college. We live in small town Iowa. Our closest college friends are 2 hours away, and that rarely happens because of ever-busy schedules and the lives we are all trying to create where we live. The isolation post-college hit us hard.
We since moved and because of how much of a challenge we felt from the isolation, we specifically sought out a church in our new community that we felt could best provide fellowship for us. I remember feeling isolated still at the beginning because all of the young couples had kids and we didn't. We were discussing expanding our family and did decide that the time was right, but our expanding is happening in a very non-traditional way. It often seems to isolate us even more.
The people who we might be friends with because of the look of our family do not have similar values and beliefs or are significantly older than my husband and I. And older people already have established friend groups that are not easily joined. (Another disadvantage with these couples is that often their children are my students...)
The people who we might be friends with because of our age and values and beliefs are not able to meet our family needs very well. I have seen evidence that some are trying to be supportive, but it's not the same as experiencing it and understanding for yourself. (That is something I might not have really understood until I crossed into this land myself.) I want them to be willing to try what we are doing. I want to be an example that demonstrates that they can do this too, but it is a difficult thing to do when we often feel so alone.
Now I don't want you to think I am friendless. I have plenty of friends, but what I lack is a cohesive group of friends that can relate to multiple aspects of each others' lives. And who have experienced enough of each others' lives to truly know how to be blessings to each other. I have been grieving for this lately.