My blog has been pretty silent for the last two months. The reason for this is because my wife and I just moved back to our home state of Pennsylvania from Massachusetts. So needless to say life has been more than a little crazy. Finding a place to live, packing, moving, and all the other things that need done in order to move have been taking up a lot of time. The move is a positive thing and we’re happy to be back closer to family and around more familiar settings. However there is one thing that is always difficult when one leaves any area, and that is saying goodbye.
We had lived in Massachusetts for about 6 years and you develop relationships that are hard to say goodbye to. The largest concentration of relationships that were hard to say goodbye to came from our church family. My seminary friends had either moved away or had responsibilities that caused our relationships to just drift apart. So the main well of friendship came from our church. It really was our main community, but it took time to establish those relationships. It is funny to think of how some of the relationships developed. Some were ones that started to some degree early and slowly developed over time, others were more due to them being in a class I taught, there were those that developed quickly once we actually interacted or they started to come to the church, and there were those that were lost because others left the church and you never really heard from them again. Of course there were also the people that you felt you could have been closer with, but for one reason or another it just never happened.
At the end of the day it is hard to say goodbye to those relationships. In many ways the relationships aren’t completely severed. We live in the age of instant communication. Texting, e-mail, Facebook, and things like that enable people to keep in touch and know what is going on in each others lives, but it isn’t the same as being there and actually getting to do things with people. To play basketball with guys after church, invite people over to play games, to be at Starbucks and talk about life, books, and make fun of those who leave themselves wide open for it, the weekly meetings of friends and the weekly gathering of people for worship each week. These are the things that I’ll miss the most. While it may not be the last time I see anyone there, I certainly hope it isn’t, it will not be the same. Our lives will go on, and so will theirs. We’ll make new memories that are separate, meet new people, and we will be disconnected more than we were when we were together. The clarity of the relationship will fade with time, it may still be there, but it will not be as vibrant and colorful as it was in the midst of those relationships.
My wife and I have recently joked that moving wouldn’t be bad if you could just take everyone you know with you. However, life doesn’t really work like that, so the next best thing we can hope for is teleportation technology. Until that comes around I guess we’ll have to rely on the internet and maybe even vacations to connect with people, but I guess that’s better than nothing. One thing seems certain even with the internet, goodbyes aren’t easy and I don’t think I’ll ever really like them.