Feb. 28, 2016

Dear Friend,

As I am leaving a place I have called home for a half of my adult life, I can’t help but think about the friendships I made while living here. Because of all of our moves in the past, I found it was hard to get to know someone and then shortly afterwards leave, knowing I most likely would never see them again. Being naturally introverted, I became more guarded and it takes a long time for me to make a good friend. Is it worthwhile to put forth such an effort in keeping the old friendships or making new ones?

I have long wished of having a close friend like my grandmother had. She talked about their teenage days and young adult years, going out dancing and maturing together. She told of getting together for coffee while the children were young and having the friend’s family over for dinner. She told of the phone calls and letters to stay in contact when health issues arose in their golden years and distance kept them apart. When the friend of 70+ years passed away, she truly felt a loss, knowing that her time left on this earth would never permit her to gain another friendship like what she had once experienced.

I have realized that such a friendship takes a tremendous amount of time and effort on both sides. I think back to my accountability partner and friend back in my college years. Despite very demanding schedules and heavy coursework, we were determined to meet. We both made it a priority and through those deep discussions and light-hearted silliness, we forged out a wonderful friendship. After graduation and moving many miles away, it was difficult to keep up like we had. But I’ll always have wonderful memories about my time with her and appreciate how she challenged me to grow as a person. What a friendship in only sharing four years with her!

What about even shorter times like summer camps, or a mission trips? Many of us share those memories of people who quickly pass in and out of our lives. Nevertheless, there were things that we were able to learn from the people we ran across. Some of my memories were learning how to tie a tie, sing a silly song, or be inspired that one day I would be able to play a piano song from just chords. Other memories were challenges to solidify my beliefs, making them my own or to stand up for Jesus and dare to live like no one else. Some of the people who have left their mark on me may not even remember who I was at the time. I can’t even remember all of their names, but their messages remained and are carried out through me.

I can’t help but think that perhaps, I was a person who was also used by God to make a mark on others as well. Through all that, I know that even if the time is short, every person I run across is important and is always worth that effort to enjoy a friendship with for the time being. I just have to get out of my shyness shell and pursue those friendships. Also, I am not blind to realizing that the friendships that will remain from Princeton will require time and determination to maintain. That is a decision I have to choose to do or it will be chosen for me as we drift apart over time. One comforting thought is if they also are a follower of Jesus, I don’t ever have to say “good-bye” but rather “until we meet again”.

Until we meet again?




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