img_3496For the first time in 4 years, I don’t have plans to head to Nashville this weekend….and I’m kinda struggling with it. Let me be REALLY clear and say that it is not because I won’t be running in the Nashville Half Marathon. I’m actually thrilled that I WON’T. Last years race was my third and most likely final time running that 13.1 miles of misery. I’m still a little bitter about how it went last year so let’s just move along.

4 years ago we arrived in Nashville for the first time. Thanks to the internet, I had made some friends that we were going to meet for the first time “in real life.” It turned out to be an incredible weekend and the friendships remain. The next year we would put together a gathering of several more new friends. Before you knew it, we had an annual tradition that continued last year too. It was so rich and life giving that I was willing to torture myself for 13.1 miles just to get to the gathering Saturday night. Yet this year it won’t take place…and it hurts a little bit. I miss my friends. I miss the city of Nashville.

Maybe I’m weird but when I fall in love with a city and create lasting relationships, I leave a little piece of me behind. Nashville has my heart. There are several people in Nashville that I am honored to call friend. This weekend would have been another opportunity to invest in one another. We laugh. We get all caught up. We cut up. On Sunday we usually worship at a church that also has my heart. Their staff and leadership are who I look to for guidance and wisdom as I feel my way through ministry. They’ve supported me in ways they don’t even know.

So this weekend I’ll think of all of the runners and friends competing in the Nashville Half Marathon. On Saturday night I’ll think of those we usually meet with and smile. Friends in Nashville, know you have our heart. Know you have our friendship. We’ll miss you this weekend but we will be there some weekend this summer.

Count on it.