Earlier this week, Valentine's Day to be exact, we celebrated our 16 month anniversary of living here. We really didn't celebrate. It kind of came and went, just like V-day, with little fanfare. Which in itself is kind of amazing.
Part of me says, "Wow. We made it this far." Another part of me says, "How much longer?" At one point I was counting up the number of weeks that I survived this new life. I actually remember when it was 14 weeks, 22 weeks, 40 weeks (I could have birthed a baby) and then 52 weeks. I think that's when I stopped counting weeks and went to months.
But this month, I had to be reminded. What does that say? That I'm settled? That I was on vacation? That this is home? That I'm lost and don't know which way to turn? That I don't care anymore? Possibly all of them at one time or another can be said as true.
Without a doubt, having 16 months under my belt, the hardest part about this life is not the food, or the language, or even the culture. The most difficult thing is missing my peeps back home. What am I supposed to do with that? I have no desire to lose touch with family and friends, although it does seem more challenging to keep up with everyone. I don't want to miss out on the milestones, even if I can't physically be there. I don't want them missing out on my family's growth and goofiness. So, what do I do with that? If I plan to live here for any length of time, is it fair to keep being BFF's or should I let them move on? Is it selfish? Will it keep me from forming friendships here that are lasting?
Truthfully, I don't know. Over the years as we've moved, we naturally lost contact with people we treasure, but we haven't stopped loving them or praying for them or wanting the best for them. We just built new relationships that made the others harder to maintain. We still keep in touch, but we moved on and so did they. Do we still have great memories? Yes. Do we miss them? Yes. But is that the natural way of things? My mother is still best friends with her high school girlfriends, AND she has made new friends along the way. Relationships take time and energy.
Recently, it came to my attention that some think I should let my BFF's move on. Be in touch less. Let them have someone close to them they can actually touch. At first, I agreed for various reasons. But as I ponder it, I'm not sure.
I've told you the story of how God brought Pandamom into my life. An answered prayer. But I haven't told other stories of other BFF's. No less answers to prayers. The truth of the matter to me is that they are gifts to me and I am, in return, a gift to them. We sharpen each other. Relationships that suck you dry...well, let them go, but the ones that fill your heart with love and encouragement...the ones that challenge to be a better you...why let go of those? What would be the purpose in that? Why not hold onto the people who love you unconditionally; who make you laugh til you cry; who cry with you when your sad; who lift you to the Father?
Those...THOSE are the people I want in my life. Life is hard enough on your own. But when God gives you a gift, a treasure, of friendship...keep it close. Then give thanks to the One who created us to be in relationships and who saw fit to give you an extra portion.
That's what I have and I am eternally grateful for each one. I am a better person for the ways that Godly friends have poured into my life. Finders Keepers... :)