A very, very dear friend of mine moved away several months ago. Sometimes I think it shouldn’t be such a big deal. She only moved 3 hours away. So far we’ve seen quite a bit of one another, and the time spent together since has been quality. With no such thing as long distance phone calls and the internet shrinking the universe, keeping in touch is not the dilemma it once was. Still, I don’t call as often as I should because kids are getting ready for school or we‘re eating lunch or it‘s nap time and there is no way I‘m calling during dinner prep time. Facebook isn’t keeping us as connected as I would like. And while I go about my busy life doing my busy things and spending time with other friends, I keep her in the back of my mind. I wish she was here. I miss her wise words, insights and her ability to keep track of all of my appointments.
With joy, sadness and a little divine nudge, I came upon a recent blog post of hers. I asked if I could share it. She said sure, so here it is. Not in it’s entirety, but in it’s essence. Maybe you need permission today too.
Beth Moore in her Breaking Free study on the day of "Hearts Broken by Loss" after listing a bunch of losses she went through including death of someone close to her, the loss of a 7-year foster son of theirs, two of her best friends moving away and more, she says this:
"Many emotions have swept over me during the last two years, but if you asked which emotion served as the common denominator, I would not hesitate to say grief. In fact, I was somewhat taken aback over the feelings of grief accompanying the moving of my two best fiends. The grieving seemed out of place to me in relation to my other losses yet oddly unavoidable."
Then the question for the reader to answer was this:
"What about you? Have you ever experienced feelings of grief that surprised you or almost seemed inappropriate through a change in jobs, homes, health or relationships?"
YES! YES! YES! This is EXACTLY how I've felt the last several months since the move. Like the grief I've felt at moving has been "inappropriate." I mean, I moved NEAR family! Who wouldn't want that? What in the world do I have to complain about or be missing?! So, I've felt guilty as I've been dealing with my grief, totally surprised by the magnitude of it and confused at the struggle. I knew I would be sad about leaving and have to give it some time, but never did I think I would literally go through the grieving process. FINALLY, Beth affirmed me. She goes on, right after the question above to say, "God finally opened my eyes to see that grief was not inappropriate. Each of my experiences represented a kind of death." Yup.
And then I could totally relate to her when she's talking about her two friends leaving. She says "With the departure of my two best friends I experienced the death of instant camaraderie, of expected company at many events, of relationships I had known for many years and of pure togetherness. Best friendships with long histories are not easy to replace."
I would add to this... the departure of small "seemingly" insignificant things like quick phone calls for clarification on something said earlier or to ask for a recipe or to confirm a time or date; of spontaneous get-togethers; of sharing small details of our lives and partaking in the daily grind together. The departure of feeling needed and like I was contributing to a relationship whether it was watching kids, being a listening ear, or making a meal. The departure of all the little things that make close friendships; real-life friendships what they are.
So many things that are a loss that merit grieving! And, it's OK! Yes, my getting over leaving has been a bigger deal than I ever thought it would be but I have found this to be true. As Beth writes "Anything that breaks the heart is a legitimate reason for seeking the healing only Christ can bring." And, He is bringing healing. I feel it. I know it. I've leaned on him for fellowship, camaraderie and emotional support in the last few months like I haven't done in years. He's been my Only friend and sound-board more times than I can count recently. And, He's healing my heart and I'm learning that there is life after the loss. Just as Mary and Martha went through two days of the intense grief of losing their brother before Jesus came and brought new life, so right now, I am going through some grief. But Jesus is meeting me where I am and HE is bringing new life.
My life has changed. Things are different; they never will be the same. But "I have the invitation from Christ to rise to a new life - a more compassionate life, a wiser life, a more productive life. And yes, even a better life." (Beth Moore, again!). I still don't have "friends" here per se, but I am experiencing joys. There is life, because He is the Resurrection and the Life! What hope He brings!
Betsy is learning the ropes (that may be a poor choice of words) of a new life with her husband and two boys waaaay up in Seattle.