The news did not surprise me. It was like I had known this day was coming all along. Yet, when she came into the house and announced the news I still felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I wanted to clap my hands over my ears and hum a tune so I could drown out the dreaded words, "We are moving." Everything in me cried out, "No! No! No!" I cannot stand seeing another good friend move far away from me. I cannot stand seeing my son's best bud leave and having to watch him go through what I have gone through so many times. I cannot stand seeing my daughter cry because she is going to miss out on getting to babysit their adorable children in two years. "What other babies will I be able to hold in church, Mommy?" she asked. I did not know what to tell her. I felt the same pain inside.
It is a pattern that seems to be constantly stitched in my life. It has happened too many times before. I remember the first stitch of the pattern was started when I was about eight years old. My good friend Lisa told me they were moving away....to Alabama. They were packing up and taking off to a place that seemed a million miles away. I lay in bed that night crying my heart out. Who was I going to play with now? Who was I going to trade stickers with at church and float homemade boats down the stream with? It felt like the end of the world to my young mind. I did not have many friends. I was always a quiet, shy kind of person. I never knew what to say to someone to start a conversation, and was afraid they would not like me anyway. I was not confident in myself as a person, so one odd look could frighten me away into thinking I was not worth the time. So, losing my friend meant having to start all over again, though girls my age were rare in our circles.
I did eventually find another friend through a workmate of my dad's, and we spent a couple summers together. We played boat on her brass bed, swam in her pool, and ate cheese crackers or yummy chips from a large barrel she kept on the top of her fridge when we got hungry. I got very tan from spending so much time outside those couple of summers. It was great fun...until I got the news they were moving away to North Carolina. Another stitch was sewn into my life.
When I was thirteen years old it was my time to move away from all that I knew and felt comfortable with. It was my turn to break ties with someone, a boy who lived a few houses down the road from me, who had been my best friend ever since I was four years old. It was true that we had started to drift apart a bit. I had begun homeschooling and we did not have the time to see each other like we did before. We were also at an odd age where we did not want to play with toys anymore so our interests had begun to change. I felt like I had become a stranger. Moving was hard for me, but I had hopes I would find a girl in the new neighborhood that might become my friend.
Throughout my teen years I had girls come and go, though because I was homeschooled I did not get out much to meet more girls, which in a way was a good thing. I did not have the influences of peer pressure to deal with, and it also helped me draw closer to the Lord because He was the One I could talk to at any time and any place. I can see it all clearly now, though at the time my heart seemed pained at not having a girl to share secrets with.
I cannot go on without giving credit to the Lord for allowing me to make some good friends though writing, ones that I still have contact with and talk to almost every week. Long distance relationships do work and for me they have been a life saver. My husband also became my best friend when we met and I am so thankful for God bringing him into my life.
The path of friendship for me has definitely been like a roller coaster. I have ups and downs, people coming and going on their own paths of life, sometimes meeting together and other times pulling away. I had another friend just a few months ago tell me that they are looking into moving to Tennessee, which is a million miles away. Now with the K family moving away too, I feel like that hole in my heart is being ripped open again. Why does God keep taking away all my friends?
Last week I wrote about blinking...I felt like I was baring my heart for all to see. I am doing it again...feeling vulnerable and naked, but for some reason I feel God wants me to write this. Maybe there are others out there who struggle with the same issues. Maybe there is someone out there who needs a friend. To be honest, I am hesitant to open my heart to new friendships simply because I do not want to get hurt again. I want to close up in my little shell and hide away from hurt and pain, but I do not believe God wants me to do that. When someone stitches a beautiful quilt together, they always like to display it for all to see, either on their bed or on their wall in the living room. The Master Quilter does not want me to hide under a bushel either. He is stitching my life together piece by piece. His pattern for me is different from anyone else's in the world, just as I am different from anyone else. I may not understand all that He is doing, and I may not even like what He is doing, but I can trust Him with my life. He has everything under control. He is the best Friend that I could ever want or need, and I am so thankful He sticks closer to me than a brother or sister. :) Lord, help me be a good display of Your workmanship and give You the glory due Your Name. Amen.