Before my big move, I was the fortunate friend who still resided in Charleston after many of my dear friends had moved away. I was one of the lucky ones who got to stay near the sand and the waves. I was one of the chosen who'd get an email or a text stating that someone I cared about would soon be arriving back to one of their most favorites places on earth. They'd always throw out a suggested time to gather a group of as many treasured friends as possible in one location to maximize their time together. I never put too much thought into the gatherings, but always tried my best to be there. I mean, where else would I want to be anyway?
Fast forward a year or so, and I'm now the friend traveling back to my favorite place on earth and sending out those same emails and texts. I'm the one now who understands that those words in a text are way more than words. I'm the one who hits "send" with a whole lot of hope and anticipation. I'm the one who's been counting down the days, literally there are only 53 days until I'm back again, until I get to see my friends again and get to feel as though for 3 days my whole world hasn't changed and that I'm still a part of my friends' lives again. And I'm the one who gets to wait
Being a lover and respecter of life lessons learned, these trips have taught me two things so far.
1) You're best friends are your best friends regardless of distance and circumstance, if you want them to be. They will essentially drop everything when you're coming into town. They not only respond to your email request of a friend's dinner, but they write back with "Yes! Awesome, but what are your plans for the other waking hours you'll be here??" They'll shop with you just to have more time together. They'll sit with you at church while you worship together, and although you don't have to say anything, they're most likely feeling the bitter sweetness in your soul to be so happy and yet sad at the same time to be back in your home church where somehow the Lord just fills bigger and louder and closer. They'll wait to share exciting news because they still want you to be apart of the biggest things in their life. They'll make you feel so loved and so relieved that you're still one of their chosen ones that you will find yourself crying silent tears on your last night there as you drift off to sleep. At the end of the day, in its simplest form, they make room for you. Cherished room.
2) Sadly, some friendships will sort of take a backseat, even if you don't want them too. I guess it just happens. Regardless of trying to plan or give notice that you're coming, there just isn't room at that time for whatever reason. I can't be mad at them, and I try not to be hurt by it. I'm sure it's nothing personal. Their probably just busy. They haven't been the one to move away and know how much you look forward to being back there with them and in some sort of normalcy again that you've craved while you're away. I can't expect them to know that when I'm there and asking to have dinner with them, what I'm really saying is "do you still have room for me?" How could they know that until its them that's gone?
For my friends who do drop everything for me, you're a life line for my heart. You're my breath of fresh air that keeps me going when change can make it feel hard to breathe sometimes. You bring a piece of my soul out from hibernation. You make me laugh harder and longer than I do most days. You allow me to feel known. I do not take your time for granted. I know I never will because I now get to be one of the ones who knows just how treasured, precious and longed for that time truly is. Your time is safe with me.
Thank you for still doing life with me, even if it's only for a few long weekends here and there. You're the best!
And if you ever come to Rockford, or Chicago, or anywhere within driving distance, consider my everything already dropped. Yesterday.