Friday, February 19, 2010

I meant to say...

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... :)


GloryandGrace said...

One of these days, me and my hubs are going to come visit you, and give you the biggest hug you can imagine.

I wholeheartedly agree with you on this - true, encouraging, refining friendships are timeless and not measured by distance. I'm not nearly as far away as you are of course, but I wondered these same things when I moved to KY (I've got that old song "Welcome to Delaware" from Watermark in my head). And sure enough, the real friendships stuck, and the others had their seasons and their times of moving on.

I cherish you, love you and the fam dearly, and can't wait until we can chat again very soon :)

Mom said...

What you should say to anyone who proposes that you let go of treasured the word of Julia Sugarbaker, "Have you just COMPLETELY lost your mind?!?" Friends will come into your life, and go out of your life, but there are special relationships that time and distance cannot diminish. You didn't say in your blog how I lost touch with my friends for almost 20 years, but when we reunited the things that made us friends in 1965 were still the important things. Don't let go of anyone! If you don't remain as close as you once were, geographically or emotionally, you still have a shared space in time that your memory will make a treasure. I love you so much! You are such an eloquent woman. Are you writing a book?

PandaMom said...

You ain't gettin' rid of me anytime, ever. ; )

Anonymous said...

TOTALLY like what your mom said! I love you!

Anonymous said...

We go together like ramma lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong
Remembered forever as shoo-bop sha whada whadda yippidy boom da boom
Chang chang changity chang shoo bop that's the way it should be
Waooo Yeah

hahaha girl you ain't gettin' rid of me. We might not talk for a few weeks just 'cause life get's busy, but we will always catch up some way some how!! And if I am ever overseas with no signal we will just go back to the way Aunt Lottie did it with a pen and paper. We were most importantly made for worship, but were also made for fellowship. I carry your burdens you carry mine. Trust me... it's Biblical! haha
Love you always and forever-

Anonymous said...

"A sweet friendship refreshes the soul." Proverbs 27:9 (MSG)

One of the deepest needs we have in life is the need to be understood. We all desperately need to feel that somebody can feel what we're feeling and understand what we're thinking. We all need people who connect with us.

A study by the California Department of Health Mental found that if you're disconnected from other people -

You're two-to-three times more likely to die an early death;
You're four times more likely to suffer from emotional burnout;
You're five times more likely to suffer clinical depression, and;
You're ten times more likely to be hospitalized for an emotional or mental disorder.
We need human connections for physical, emotional, spiritual health. We need people who understand us, who relate to us and who can connect to us.

Learning how to connect with people on a heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul level is one of life's most important skills. Unfortunately, nobody ever teaches us how to do this. You learn science and geography, history and math in school, but nobody teaches you how to connect with people. You may be brilliant in some subject, but if you don't know how to connect with people, you're still not going to go very far in life.

My purpose driven life devotional for today. Thought about you. So thankful to our Maker for teaching us how to connect with others by giving us each other! Love you tons.