These last weeks have been filled with good byes, more than I can count. There was a wonderful going away party at work, where I was able to end 17 years of service at the Mission in St. Paul. There have been lunches and coffee dates where I have been able to bring some sense of closure to very good friendships, and there has not been nearly enough time with those that I am closest to.
I think in getting ready to leave Minnesota, a place that I just assumed would always be home after I got married and had children here, I am beginning to realize just how deep my roots have grown. There is something about having to bring closure to areas of my life that seem almost premature and that makes me realize that I will feel a great sense of loss when we leave.
In the last few weeks I have tried to see what things I could look forward to in the months ahead. I suppose the whole idea of moving into a new, bigger house is fun and trying new southern food will be exciting. I have even looked online for little day trips to show my kids the lakes and scenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it will be fun to explore this new territory. I am looking forward to when those who have promised to come and visit actually do come and visit, it will be fun to sit on our big front porch and show them our new “southern hospitality” all while catching up with the news from up north.
As I have busied myself with meeting with different people these last few weeks my eyes have been opened to the many rich friendships that I have here, that we as a family have here, and that my daughter who is staying will continue to have here. I am thankful for those who will be watching out for her and filling in the gaps left with the rest of us being in SC.
I realize that there are some people who I call friends who I will stay connected to via mail, social media and the annual Christmas card. Then there are those who perhaps I have a bit of a closer connection with who while staying in touch through those conventional ways will probably make it down south on their way to somewhere and give us a call, I will be happy to see them. It is another much more intimate group, a much smaller group that I write these next sentences for.
In each of our lives we should be blessed with a small group of friends who make us better, who give freely into our lives without expecting anything in return and you into theirs. It is this group of friends where you find comfort, support, encouragement, laughter, tears and a bond that is not easily broken by any kind of distance or time. When you get together you pick up right where you left off. You look forward to your times together because you have long ago broken down walls and barriers that keep you from being real with each other. In the midst of laughter you can suddenly find yourselves crying over a hurt or fear and you come together in support of those you love.
I have been blessed by such a circle of friends and the imprint you have left on my heart, the encouragement you have given me as a mom, wife and woman will be with me through my life time. I don’t need to mention these ladies by name, you know, as I know the relationship that we share, it doesn't need to be defined, IT just is. It is here, that I thank you for being that group of friends who have helped me be a better me. Thank you for all of your encouragement, for your support, for making me laugh and for spurring me on! As an old college roommate recently said, “People . . . they are the only things we accumulate in life that stay with us.” Thankful that as I have sorted through 20 years of accumulated stuff that you go with me in the move.
In life as well you should have the blessing of finding that friend that then becomes more like family. You start out as acquaintances, and you begin to discover that you have more in common than you thought and your friendship becomes one that you keep in that closer circle. Perhaps it’s some kind of life event, some kind of battle, or just a sharing of your hearts that brings you even closer and not only do the walls come down, but the fear of worrying about what each other will think as you become more real disappears too. They are your “go to” person when you want to be a better wife, mother, co-worker, and person. You know that they will share honestly with you, even when it’s not easy or what you want to hear, but it’s what you need to hear. You trust that person with your heart and spirit and you find that they trust you with theirs.
In leaving my friend, a sister really, I realize that a void will be created. You know what makes our friendship what it is and you will continue to be the friend who hears good news, bad news, my hopes and my dreams, but the distance will indeed create a void. It’s not as easy to meet for coffee, or to share our hearts around the bonfire in the backyard, but the closeness we have will remain even in the distance. Our spouses and our children are friends, and we have many more memories to create. I am thankful that our children are old enough that we can plan trips to meet one another and I know that in any kind of celebration or heart ache, no distance is too far. You have blessed my life, made it richer and have asked for nothing in return, and I feel as if I have been the one to constantly receive from you. Thank you for trusting me. I am thankful that coffee tastes just as good while chatting on facetime! Just not as fun!
Yes, it is truly a gift to have such people in our lives, and I realize in leaving that the deep roots that I have are nothing to do with my location, my house, my employment or even a sunny summer morning as these are things I can enjoy anywhere and will enjoy. The roots that I have are found in the people and close friends who have helped shaped who I am as a person and made my life, and my family’s life so much richer these last 20 years.
It is so much harder to say good bye to the things of the heart, isn't it?
"How lucky am I that I have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."