Okay, I know what you’re thinking. And you’re right. That’s a really weird title for a blog post. What kind of person writes something like that on a Monday morning? Maybe she needs more coffee.
I do. I always need more coffee. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about making friends. Or not.
I live in a transient community. No, I don’t live with homeless people, although we do have a lot of them in Bermuda. I live in a community where people move in and out on a whim. Here one day, gone the next. Or so it seems. We have a lot of big business companies in Bermuda and most of them bring in their employees from overseas. Folks that fly their families halfway around the world to work on a tiny island for two or three years. Folks that might be moving back home or to some other country on a moment’s notice. Folks I really don’t want to be friends with, no matter how nice they are.
I suck at saying goodbye.
Over the last eighteen years, which is how long we’ve been back in Bermuda, I’d wager I’ve said goodbye to over twenty families. Families that we interacted with on a regular basis. Watched our kids on the playground together, hung out at the beach with, spent many hours together, investing in one another’s lives. At least five women I considered my very best friends have left my life over the last few years. Some of those friendships have remained strong, others have not. One of my first questions now upon meeting somebody new, is, “Are you Bermudian?” In other words, are you sticking around? Because if you aren’t, I don’t think we can be friends.
I am a self-preservationist.
And I know this is wrong. I know that I would not be who I am today were it not for many of those people God placed in my life for a particular season. I learned so much from them. We laughed together, cried together and did life together. And it was good. But I miss them too much when they’re gone. I miss not being able to pick up the phone, jump in the car and go hang out together. I hate that they’ve moved on to live a life I’m not really a part of anymore. I hate that I never got to see their kids grow up. I hate that aching feeling that something has gone missing, you want to get it back, you need to get it back, but you can’t. Skype and Facebok are fine at filling in the gap, but nothing compares to simply sitting in the presence of someone who totally gets you. Someone you don’t even need to talk with when you have no words to say. Those friendships are rare and beautiful, and I have been blessed with them. But they’re harder to let go of. Harder to grow and nurture when we’re separated by thousands of miles.
But I am so grateful for them.
I suppose it is the memories of those good times that prod me toward new faces. As much as I don’t want to invest emotionally, I am drawn to them. Because I know they’re probably feeling a little out of place and they might need to see a friendly face. And maybe they need to make a new friend. Maybe I do too.
But I hold back because I am afraid. What if we really like each other? What if we connect on that deep level and end up with that wonderful kind of friendship that only comes around once in a blue moon? What if a year or two from now, they are gone.
It’s a risk, isn’t it? Anything that involves matters of the heart carries a certain amount of risk. Vulnerability. Sometimes I’m just not willing to take that leap of faith. Sometimes I feel like it’s more important to preserve my heart rather than open it up to more pain.
But I know I’m missing out on a potential opportunity to connect with someone God might have put in my path for a specific reason. Someone who has a place in my life journey. Just as I have a place in theirs.
And so I risk it. Risk loving, risk losing, risk it all really. A simple “hello” can change the course of someone’s life. It’s changed mine many times over. And I have no regrets.
Even if we have to say goodbye.
What about you? Have you experienced the loss of friendships? How do you handle saying goodbye?