On friendship

I moved to this town 3 years ago. In those 3 years I found lots of superficial friends. The friends that you have based on circumstance – you happen to attend the same church, or your kids are the same age, or you live in the same subdivision. People you have a little in common with, you invite them to dinner and have a good time with them. But when something awful happens you don’t want to burden them with the details. We’ve got tons of those. And even some that could – and would – share our sorrows. But I know that when circumstances change – when the kids have other friends, or when we don’t live so close, those relationships will pass us by. And that’s okay. There’s a need for people like that in your life, and I’m glad I have a large handful of them. I appreciate them and all the support they give me.

But finally, I found a friend that I can really connect with. Someone who I expect to be a long-term friend. We have circumstances that brought us together – we go to the same church, we’re in a discipleship group together, our youngest were born on the same day and my oldest is the same age as her 3rd child. We’ve celebrated birthdays together, spent Easter together, had lots of play dates and a handful of meals together, her oldest did a couple of school projects to send care packages to my brother in Afghanistan, but that’s about all – our shared history is really pretty short.

But what really holds us together is that we truly get each other. She can speak to my heart. When I’m going through something, she knows just the questions to ask. She has all the right answers, and wisdom for the moment. And I can do the same for her – or at least I try. And we’ve both verbalized it. That we get each other. That we’re important to each other. And that’s so key! I don’t think I’ve really verbalized that in any other friendships – and I’m not sure I’ve had any other friends who get me that well.

She just found out that she’s moving. Her husband has been offered a great job with a company that he’s excited about working for. Far away. Like, 800 miles away. It’s great for her and her family in a lot of ways. In fact, it’s the city they lived in before they moved here. It’s where her mom is. But moving is always stressful and she has a lot to be sad about. And I have a lot to be sad about. I know our friendship can last through this. But it’s still a new friendship. We don’t have that shared history – that treasure trove of years’ worth of fond memories to fall back on. And so I’m afraid. I’m afraid that she’ll get to her new city and find all her old friends, and make new friends, and we’ll both be too busy to bother with occasional phone calls. And we’ll become so disconnected that the glue of “getting” each other will be gone. I’ll no longer be able to speak the words she needs to hear, and she’ll no longer be able to do the same for me.

In Russian and Romanian, and I assume in lots of other languages too, “friend” is a word reserved for only the closest relationships. Everyone else is an acquaintance, co-worker, neighbor, or something else. But a friend is someone you know you can count on. Even at 2 AM. It’s the person you can call no matter when or what for, and not feel guilty about waking them or disturbing their meal. A friend is someone you can talk to about anything, and know that they won’t judge you. At the same time, you can trust them to tell you the truth, and it won’t hurt coming from them. It’s taken me so long to find someone like that. And I’m so sad that she’s going away.

She knows that this is where God is leading her family. And she has peace about it. And that’s good enough for me. But man! why right now? So I’ m sad today. I haven’t even asked when they’re due to leave – I’m afraid to find out. Just sad.

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