Thursday, August 16, 2007

Les Adieux

It is an unfortunate fact that when someone decides to move, friends pull away. I have moved around my whole life so I guess you could say the routine is old hat. For me, it is the worst part of moving. When I moved in the 9th grade, I had thought that I wouldn't be moving again. I put my roots down and made the best friends I could. Unfortunately, we had moved to a church that was secretly filled with KKK members and we were out as soon as my dad could get us out.

Being young, and knowing nothing of the pointy-hats in our church, the move was excruciatingly painful for me and I couldn't bear the thought of my friends at school pulling away again. The thought was so painful that I decided not to tell anyone about it. If my homeroom teacher had stayed quiet, no one in my class would have known I was moving.

The worst was when my best friend Jason found out. He had NO idea that I was moving. Needless to say, he was pissed, then he was fine, then he was sad. After I saw how much I hurt my friend, and friends, I decided that if I moved again, I would rather be hurt by their pulling away, then my lack of telling. It still sucked but at least my conscious was clear.

So after many, many months, days, and hours of prayer, Amber and I have decided to move to NYC. I think the move snuck up and bit me on the butt. I am feeling a little bit like I surprised my church family and friends but I can't help but attribute the brevity to God's working it out. Some might call that a cop-out but all I can say is, don't judge a man until you've walked a yard let-alone a mile in his shoes.

The worst part about it all is that friends still pull away. I understand really. It is a protection mechanism. They are hurt and don't want to feel hurt. They shut the origin of the pain out, "you" and try to forget "you" ever really meant that much to them. This is sad to me. I think they will regret it later. Maybe not with me, but later when they realize they are too afraid of being hurt to risk love.

I know I did.

Friends should embrace the sadness and be honest. It sucks, but that's the price of loving someone. What parent would choose to NOT love their child because they knew that someday they would grow up and leave?

When David left Jonathan, they wept, bitterly. Parting sucks because you are leaving a friend, but being ignored by your friends because you are leaving, when you need the most sucks much, much worse.

Friendship is a precious, precious thing to me. I am excited as can be over the move, but heartbroken for leaving people that I love and have grown close to. Like my students. I didn't realize how I had fallen in love with my students. They have impacted me more than anyone since my time here in Houston.

Charlie, John Jr., Brenna, Ashley, Christopher, Mer, Jack, Richie, Matthew, Sarah, Rachel, Lauren, Clay, Rahim, Sohail... thanks for teaching me that God uses me more in the ways and places I don't expect, rather than in my big dreams. I love you guys and I'll miss the heck out of you.


The Stan said...

Dammit, Seth, you leaving Houston and such. I don't think we can be friends anymore!


Chaotic Hammer said...

For some reason, my experience with the "moving away" event has been a little different than yours.

Perhaps this is partly because I spent several years in the military, where moving around and being separated from the people you've befriended is just a constant way of life. We always throw big parties for those departing and make sure we fuss over them and let them know how much we enjoyed our time with them.

Even when we took the "blind leap" from California to Tennessee a couple of years ago, we still maintained close and meaningful relationships with our closest friends up until the end.

But my experience has been more like this: At the time of departure, there are many sad goodbyes, but a sincere (and genuinely heartfelt) promise to stay in touch. But as the months, then years, go by the busyness of life and the excitement of the new place and friends consumes all your time. Then you turn around one day and realize you've pretty much lost touch with most of your old friends.

There are notable exceptions, of course. Our small group leaders from California (and really, they're not just "small group leaders" but are really just "dear friends") have been very good about calling every month or two and staying in touch, and when they passed through here last year, actually stayed in our home for a few days.

Plus, with the internet being available now, it really is a little easier than it used to be to "stay in touch" with distant friends and family. (Say, a blog for example, where a certain prolific writer will no doubt be chronicling all his exciting and new experiences in NYC for his friends and family to read about...)

But having said all that, I do understand what you're talking about, and I would agree that this "pulling away" is mostly a sort of defense mechanism against the normal pain that we all feel in our hearts when being separated from those we've been close to, and have become accustomed to having around.

My advice would be to be sentimental and gushy during your time of departure. Don't be afraid to let everyone know how much you love them and have enjoyed their friendship. You really don't know if you'll ever get back that way again, so don't withhold your love. Once your energy has been directed to your new home and new life, you won't have the opportunity to do this in quite the same way as you can right now.

Amy said...

I have always despised the parting. Having done quite a bit of it myself, I love the way everyone fusses over you (so much food! so many presents! so many pictures!) but I always feel such sorrow. Having someone right there is a million times better than the internet and there is the inevitable knowledge that the closeness will never be the same.

I hope that your friends absolutely drown you with love as you go and that there are still many precious memories to be made.

truevyne said...

i distinctly remember the day as an adult i decided pulling away was not the best way to handle my dearest friends move. instead i hung on,helping in anyway i could with packing and blessing for send off. it came from a flow that God would provide others for both of us, and i no longer needed to "control" people's intersections with my life- instead keep an open hand and heart for those coming and going. i've still never had a friend like her, but i can't say i've felt any lack either.

Susanne said...

I've felt something similar anytime I've mentioned to a friend here that I hope to move back closer to "home" (Alabama/Mississippi) one day. It's like they're afraid to get to be too close to you if there is a chance you'll move away. But nowadays so many of us are transient. We can't be afraid to get too close to someone. We should just be the best friends we can be to them. We'll miss you guys, but I'll look forward to blog updates from the Big Apple!!!