I was recently babysitting on a Friday night.
It was late. Midnight. And the apartment has these beautiful bay windows with plush window seats. Perfect to peer down onto the streets below. The cobblestone street, dotted with cafes, where people dine alfresco on the sidewalks outside. Or you look across the street at various rooftop parties, bustling underneath twinkle lights — NYC’s stand in for the stars we cannot see amid the bright city lights.
This spot is a people watcher’s paradise.
Now, don’t get the wrong idea. I am not some creeper.
I’m not some Pee-Wee Herman, fun house wacko.
But I frankly love to just watch the lights twinkle in the buildings and the waiters pop from table to table delivering drinks, friends gathering to celebrate birthdays, toast with margaritas, chat, laugh, and just be with one another.
And as I was watching all the people buzzing around on the streets below, I was just overcome with this awareness. Of how this is really what life is about.
How community — relationships — are what get us through.
I have a pretty unique social situation in NYC. One that, I can honestly say, I would not be the same without.
I have my large friend group of people I met since I moved here. They’re wonderful. I laugh with them. Hang out with them. Spend fun nights at one another’s rooftops, brunching, going to street fairs, concerts, dinner parties, dive bars. They have become my second family since moving to the Big Apple.
But then, in addition to that large friend group, I have my girls.
My girls moved to the city about 2 years ago. The two of them have been my best friends since age 7. We were neighbors back in the Midwest. Went to school together. Did extracurriculars together. Vacationed together. Were parts of each others’ families.
And now they live in NYC with me.
And here’s the thing. My large friend group, I love them all so much. They have been there for me though the ups and down of living in this big and sometimes frightening city. They have been an active part of my growth as a person and instrumental in my journey to self love.
They don’t know my past.
They don’t know where I came from. What I’ve been through. How, who I am today is the result of everything up till now.
My girls, they walked through my anorexia with me. They were there. They know me. They know who I am. And I know them.
And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all really want? Someone to truly see us – good, bad, and ugly?
Someone who remembers your awkward phase in middle school when you wore a retainer and had a bad highlight job?
When you went through a Jesse McCartney/Hillary Duff phase when you first got your car and would blare “Beautiful Soul” like the soundtrack to your own reality TV show
I think that’s what we long for. What we were made for. People to accept all of us.
It’s what I found myself thinking about, as I was watching all the people below, living in community with each other.
During my anorexia, I isolated myself from my friends and loved ones to be with ED. You know this, I don’t need to rehash it.
But that relational desert birthed in me an appreciation for community and friendship that is so deep. Friendships have been so healing to my spirit and heart.
But what has been truly transformative, has been my friendship with my girls — friends who know all the crap and baggage I have from my past, and love me anyway.
One where, they’ve seen me at the pit of rock bottom, and yet choose to see me today, as the healed, whole, and vibrant young woman, and celebrate that victory.
One where, regardless of the pain or hurt they experienced during that dark time, they forgave me and embraced me still.
That, is a transcendent relationship.
That is a relationship that reflects our relationship with Christ.
Because thats what He did.
One day, I may share my past with my large friend group. During this particular phase of life, not having that darkness follow me around has been so healing and freeing. And I know that by sharing that history, and being vulnerable, it will only bring us closer. But for now, I will keep that to myself.
But one thing’s for sure: having my girls in the city, who truly know me, and where I came from and what I’ve been through – that’s true freedom.
That’s what all those people down in the cafes and speakeasies are looking for.
They’re looking to be seen. To truly be seen and known by the person on the other side of the table.
I hope they find it.
You’re worth being known.
Never forget that.
107 responses to “Community by Twilight”
❤️❤️❤️ Would love to feature your story sometime on our Restoration Stories. I enjoy your blog very much!
Thank you so much! Wow I’d be honored:) have a great night! Hugs xox
The last three lines, are so great. But then, so is the whole post. Thanks for sharing. We all want to feel connected, in a community of people who see us for what we really are, and you expressed it so eloquently.
Thank you so much T:) you’re so right – that’s what we all need deep down. So glad it resonated with you. And hey, thanks for sharing it on Twitter! I so appreciate you sharing BBB! 😘 hugs and love my friend xox
What a wonderful post. I love the quote about “Everyone comes with baggage, find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack it” And it sounds like you have that. Beautiful post about what really matters in life. 🙂 xo
Thank you Miriam! 🙂 yeah, I am so grateful for “my girls.” I definitely don’t take that blessing for granted. Thanks so much for stopping by and for being such a great supporter! It means he works. Hugs and love xox
Reblogged this on Momma Birdy and commented:
“But what has been truly transformative, has been my friendship with my girls — friends who know all the crap and baggage I have from my past, and love me anyway.”-BeautyBeyondBones
Living in community with people who truly know you, the good, the bad, and the ugly, is a blessing from God. I am so thankful for my friends and family who know me, who get me, and who love me anyway. Read BeautyBeyondBones’ blog about community and ponder the community that you are in. Do you have transparency in your community? Do you feel free to be you? If not, then why? May God bless you with a beautiful community.
By His Grace,
Hi Momma Birdy! Thank you so much for the reblog, and for such kind words about my blog. You’re so right- true community really is a blessing from God. So glad this resonated with you. Hugs and love my friend xox
Thank you for liking my blog post, “Leaving Egypt” today. We are our past, good or bad. God can use it all for His glory! You are a beautiful writer. God’s blessings on all you do!
Thank you so much Ruth! Amen to that- God uses it ALL for good! Thanks for reading! Hugs and love xox
“You’re worth being known.
Never forget that.”
Nice little reminder that means so much more than those 7 words can…
Thank you so much Tom 🙂 I’m glad it resonated with you! yes — 7 little words with a big message 🙂 thanks for the encouragement. sending hugs and love! have a great night! xox
Love it. I have a few of those friends who have been there through everything. Hopefully they will be for life <3
Thanks Kelly! That’s so wonderful. Those friendships are so precious. Thanks for reading! Hugs and love xox
Love the heart collage on the glass door 🙂
Thank you so much! 🙂 hehe yeah my sister in law made it for me! She’s so thoughtful. Thanks for reading! Hugs and love xox
Love the heart.
Thank you so much:) my sis in law made it for me:) she’s the sweetest. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love cox
Thank you for sharing. And send you hugs full of love and gratitude.
This is beautiful, thank you for sharing!! My spiritual teacher John-Roger says, “Perfect vulnerability is perfect protection.” Your blog post reminded me of this. So many blessings to you. <3
Thank you so much for this encouragement:) I absolutely love that-perfect vulnerability is perfect protection. Amen! Thanks for reading! Hugs and love xox
Hugs and love to you too! 🙂
What an amazing post. Thank you for the healing here. It’s not always easy to find friends to help you unpack, but you’re right we all need those close kind of friends. Keep walking in your victory!
Thank you friend! You’re right – friends are such blessings in life. Thanks for always being so supportive and encouraging. Hugs and love xox
I worry about this when looking for a relationship with a man. I have so much baggage and am scared to show it. I am scared to let anyone in besides God because I can’t be exposed. Maybe someday…
Hey Ellie! I feel ya there, girl. Being vulnerable can be so scary. But I trust that when the time is right, God will bring men into our lives that we are going to want to be real with and let into that place of our hearts. ❤️ thanks so much for stopping by my friend. It’s always great to hear from you! Hugs and love xox
Your post touch my soul. Thank you for sharing talks with us 🙂
Aw thank you so much. I’m so glad it resonated with you! Hugs and love xox
An awesome observation – we have been created with the need to know and be known…by one another…and, ultimately God.
Thank you so much! So glad it resonated with you. You’re so right – that’s what we ultimately need in life. amen to that. hugs and love xox
Wow! Your writing is so powerful. Your past few posts have spoken to me on a personal level in so many ways. Your Body Positive post, and your Seeds post and now this! Every single one of them seemed like love letters from the universe addressed to me. I know that is because you speak to fundamental truths about all of us who are experiencing the human condition. You do it so beautifully and gracefully that I am certain the divine is working through you.
I’ve only known about your blog for a few weeks, maybe a month, and I appreciate everything you’ve done here. Every post you’ve written here inspires me to hold on to my own dream and to walk my path because you walk yours so well. I’m glad you saw me, that you liked one of my posts and that I am now able to see you. I am so thankful for that.
Oh my goodness, thank you so much:) what kind words! I’m touched. And I’m so glad my posts have resonated with you! That seriously brings so much joy to my heart. Grateful for you, my friend 🙂 hugs and lots of love! Xox
It is healing for one to know you so well that they know the whole package and yet all of it is bundled and safe. This kind of acceptance is truly what Christ offers, first in His spirit toward us, then in our spirit toward ourselves.
Isn’t it wonderful how acceptance by another, can lead to full acceptance of ourselves and then full healing? I believe this kind of love is the basis of real healing. It’s a rare article, but a most powerful one.
Thank you so much:) you speak so much truth here! That is definitely what Christ offers indeed. Truly beautiful. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox
Have a great evening! Hugs and love to you as well. 🙂
Great post 🙂 I am glad to hear that things are working out for you in The Big Apple 🙂 I think it helps tremendously that you are surrounded by both New York friends and as you mention in this post, two friends from your Midwestern origins, who are now living in New York just like you 🙂 Aside from God, it is always great to have a large number of friends help you get through this everyday journey called life 🙂 When you have friends from your current state and two from the state you formerly lived in join you, one just feels very lucky and happy 🙂 And that is the way things ought to be 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂
Hey John! You’re so right. I do feel incredibly lucky. I know it is suuuuuper cheesy, but the song about new and old friends, one is silver and the other gold is so true. Friendships are so precious and I definitely don’t take those relationships for granted. Thanks again for always being so supportive! Hugs and love xox
Nothing profound or wise to say. Just sort of…basking in the thoughts you’ve shared. Thanks for being such a comfortable end to my day. 🙂
Thanks Jeff:) Just your little nudge of saying hi is seriously the best ever. You have been so kind and encouraging to me. I am so grateful that our paths crossed so many months ago and that we’re friends. 🙂 Right back atcha 🙂 goodnight Jeff!
Sorry I missed this last night. So I’ll just say “Good Morning!” I pray your day is blessed!
❤️❤️❤️same to you!
true community – we see only glimpses here on earth of what it’ll be in heaven. How we look forward to that day! Thanks for sharing your heart once again. NYC sounds awesome!
Hey Jonathan! Thank you so much for this response. you’re right – the best community truly is to come. Thanks for stopping by! hugs and love from the big apple! xox
I’m so glad you included Christ in your relationship status because He is the cornerstone of all of our relationships. When we put Christ first everything else falls into its rightful place. On another note, I am so intrigued: you are living in NYC. I’ve always wanted to go and see what it was like. I imagine it to be non-stop, almost hectic. Can you truly relax in the Apple? God is there, I know, so I guess there is Peace as well?
Hi Eric! Thank you so much! You’re absolutely right. He is the cornerstone! I love it in NYC! Hugs and love xox
I listened to the podcast you were interviewed on and I just wanted to say how it touched me, especially when you mentioned that there is a reason for the pain and one day we will realize it’s purpose. It brought tears to my eyes hearing your story. Thank you for sharing.
Hi friend! Oh my gosh thank you so much:) seriously it means the world that you would take the time to listen. I’m so glad it resonated with you. Sending a big big hug! Xoxox
I enjoyed that, thanks
Oh good! I’m so glad:) thanks friend! Hugs and love xox
Reblogged this on Jesus Love Mercy & Me and commented:
Beauty Beyond Bones has hit the nail on the head with this post. We all need to be reminded of what she has to say. Love, Love, Love it! Thanks.
Thank you so much for sharing my post, and for the wonderful things you said about my blog:) it really means a lot! Hugs and love xox
Thank you so much for posting this. There are so many people that need to know they are worth it. I only know a glimpse of what you went through to get to this point, but your honesty is very refreshing,. God bless you.
Thanks☺️ God is good, that’s all I can say! Thanks again for the reblog and for your lovely encouragement. Sending a big hug xox
NYC is much more beautiful a place than it was years ago. It has always had beauty but so much more to do in so many more areas than once was. Its beauty has been added to by your presence there. You make NYC bright even if there wasn’t one neon light!!
Hi friend! You’re right-it’s been really cleaned up! And aw shucks, that’s so kind of you to say!! Thanks for making me smile a big ol’ smile this morning! Hugs and love xox
Always smiling at you!! 🙂 🙂 xoxo
Genuine friendship – like genuine love – is a precious gift. I have little real friends. But they are my true friends. They live far from me, but thankfully there are mobiles and the Internet. And then there are my parents. I see them every day. I’m blessed.
Hi Lulu! You’re so right-a precious precious gift indeed. Yes, definitely blessed indeed. I’ve come to realize that it’s quality not quantity when t comes to relationships. And if you can count your friends on one hand, then you are blessed beyond measure. So glad you have those people in your life:) sending a big big hug xox
Hugz 2 u 2 ❤
Incredible journeys are the best journeys. I like yours. It has, chutzpah.
Haha chutzpah! Love it! Thank you so much:) glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox
You pretty much hit the secret to a life well-lived. Community and relationship! Think about it. There has never been a time when God has ever been alone, always in community within Himself between the Father, Son, and Spirit. And He invited us into that community of love that transcends time and space. We are never alone, which means we can “be there” for others. We can love because we are forever loved.
I will echo what others said here. You have a wonderful heart and writing style. Blessings to you (and to your wonderful community!)
Thanks Mel! That really means a lot. You’re so right- He is always in community. And we are never ever alone. What a comforting thought. Thanks for your kind words! Hugs and love my friend xox
Someday I hope that you have the experience of receiving thanks for simply looking out over the world with this hope, projecting the desire for people to experience fulfillment in one another, and thus to guide the Spirit of Love into their evening.
I first had that when I was going through a long period of sleep deprivation. After church I wouldn’t socialize, I would just sit with my eyes closed and listen to the voices rise and fall, cherishing each one as it took its turn in the conversation. After a time, they would rise and fall like a symphony. It was really beautiful.
You should try it sometime. I think that the angels would really enjoy it.
Thank you so much for this beautiful Note. There really is something tremendous and powerful about witness a community. It’s truly a glimpse of heaven on earth. Thanks for reading! Hugs and love xox
Beautiful post! I love what you said about the beauty of solid friendships and it’s so true that it reflects our personal relationship with Christ. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
Thank you so much Malaika:) friendships are truly so precious. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you have a great evening! Hugs and love xox
Thank you BBB for your support!
Your descriptive of community is most refreshing. It takes a certain sort of person to be comfortable among the multitudes and enjoy privacy into the mist of chaos. One trick that I used to make Washington DC more of a town than a city was to frequent the same establishments, in spite of multiple choices. That way, I got to know the people working there–even some of the customers and street people. And who knows who might walk through the door! I met a few rather well-known personalities, drinking coffee across the street from the White House.
In my vain attempt to write about community, I reviewed a rather famous book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of my favorite theologians, called Life Together (Bonhoeffer: Reframing the Christian Community (http://wp.me/p3Xeut-Bi)). In the middle of WWII, in the middle of Nazi Germany, Bonhoeffer helped establish an underground seminary and he turned down a professorship in the U.S. to do it.
Hi friend! Thanks for this reflection! What great advice. My friends and I definitely have our “spots” that we frequent where we’ve gotten to know the waiters and bartenders. definitely makes it a smaller city when you have people who know you! And wow how exciting! I think DC would be a really fun place to live. And my goodness what a powerful topic. I look forward to reading it. Hugs and love xox
You are fortunate 🙂
“They’re looking to be seen. To truly be seen and known by the person on the other side of the table…..You’re worth being known. Never forget that.”
Being truly seen and known is rare, even with effort. Sometimes even more so in the Christian community because of all the “shoulds” we impose on each other, sad to say. There is such a tendency to bayonet the wounded of life instead of offering them healing balm. Or a Healer’s balm.
And….it is hard to never forget what you may never have known. Getting to the point where you feel you have worth….that’s tricky. Spoken by one who has become convinced that since the divorce my only purpose, my only worth, is to provide funds to the child. And after that…..nothingness.
Community, or rather connection, is so important. I am still fascinated by Bonhoffer’s statement that we become Christ to each other….so much to unpack in that!
Keep writing 😀
Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection. You’re so right-being seen and known is truly what we are after in life. And what a powerful statement-to become Christ to eachother. You’re right-lots to unpack. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox
Hello! Just stumbled upon your blog after seeing that you like my post FOMO. Thank you for that, I’ll always remember my first like. Anyways loved this post about community and friends. I’m so inspired by your friendship. I also have my two girls I’ve known since I was 5/6, and just like you, I hope to be able to move together one day because friends are really what matter. Anyways I would love to stay in contact with you and I hope I can ask questions ablaut blogging! Just comment on my blog!
Hi friend! Thank you so much for this reflection. You’re so right-friends are so so important. Absolutely! I look forward to reading more from you! Hugs and love xox
Reblogged this on wwwpalfitness.
Thanks for the reblog:) you really are the best! Hugs and love xox
You’re welcome:) xox
Lovin’ you for who you are. Always. 💕 -Mar
Hey Mar! Aw this is so sweet:) thank you so much. It means the world. Truly. Sending big hugs xox
From a slightly different perspective, that of divorce, I completely identify. Having people who know you through all of those ups and downs and love you completely are incredible. I am also enjoying beginning to be able to reveal how the experiences have changed me. Great writing – I absolutely love that God loves us throughout!
A wonderful view too…x
Thank you so much for sharing this. Amen to that-He does love us so so much. Thanks for your kind words! Hugs and love xox
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Thank you very much 🙂
Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked it! Hugs and love xox
Community and relationships are key. Well-stated. We long to be loved just as we are.
Hi Rose! You’re so right- relationships are so key. Thanks for reading! Hugs and love xox
Love this! out of all the posts that I have had the pleasure of reading on your blog, this is by far my favorite! It is such a blessing to have those solid, authentic, known and be known kind of friendships. I am so grateful to have a few friends that I could claim as “my girls” too. Thanks for sharing your heart.
Thank you so much Christy! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! You’re absolutely right-those solid relationships so golden. Thanks for the encouragement! Hugs and love to you xox
Truly magical, mystical scenes come alive at night. And rooftops…the best. We have replaced the stars with our own lights and both are wonderful.
Hi friend! I think you’re right. And yassss rooftops! I love a good rooftop party in the summertime! Hugs and love xox
You always surprise us. You have an amazing talent. I look forward to your book
Hi Maha, oh gosh that is so kind of you to say. Thank you for this wonderful encouragement. Sending hugs and love cox
Beebs, it’s more fun to be a nameless face in a faceless crowd. Then enemies are easier to detect, one by one, detect and face. Detect and face. Something oughtta be done for those that claim some of us are not worth knowing, not worth getting to know. There are many that revile. There are many that persecute just to put themselves in positions of power over others. They lust for power as life lusts for life. The great irony of life is that loneliness is exceptional and aloneness is a blessing. There are fewer enemies when there are no close relationships of those close by. I have no friends, but I don’t want them. Every face has a two-face. Every tongue is double-tongued. As quickly as they speak love, they will just as quickly shove. To me that’s not love. Live. That’s all I care. Live. That’s all for which I give. Anybody want to take life and give death over life and blood over living water, they oughtt think again. They oughtt think before they sin. But they won’t. They won’t. They have gotten their way for so long, they’d rather die. They’d rather die than live a life. They’d rather die than live for life. Hatred and death they’d rather spread. Hatred and death because inside they’re already dead. They were dead the moment they refused to keep trying. The moment they leaned on others to show them the way rather than learning and growing and overcoming. The moment they leaned on others rather than choosing the way to becoming.
Hi Dan, thanks for sharing this. It’s true that we live in a fallen world, therefore there all relationships have things hey need to work on. All people have shortcomings. But that’s because we’re not in the Garden. But for me personally, having solid, faithful relationships in my life has been the only way to make it through. Everyone’s preferences are different, but I hope that you consider me a friend. 🙂 because in my heart, we are 🙂 thanks for stopping by. Sending hugs and love xox
Okay, friend Beebs, but on one condition: you never put shackles and belly chains on me.
Just look at you shine! I’m proud of you!
Aw thank you Haley:) that really means a lot! Hope you have a great rest of your weekend! Hugs and love xox
A truly inspirational encouragement to community.
I totally agree with you have some friends I have know for ever and they are like family. We never even seem to argue and I feel I can be myself with them all the time. Also I love seeing the flicker of lights in houses especially in big Cities can’t imagine what it’s like in NYC. That was an amazing post I really enjoyed reading it. 😄❤️
Hello again friend! Yes friends become family. What a blessing. Thanks for all of your kind reflections this weekend! So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox