Friday, January 18, 2013

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu!

I feel myself saying goodbye a lot, like TOO much.  Granted, I was lucky enough to spend my first 19 years in the same bedroom in the same house, but since then, I've moved 11 times (if you include the move home every summer).  For some, this may be no big deal, but a life that feels constantly in transition leaves you wanting to settle down.  I realized this morning that I may understand something about the kids I work with that I thought I didn't.

When kids arrive at Murphy-Harpst, they've usually been in 15-20 different placements.  We're near the last option for them.  So my transitional life is not so hard for them to understand.  Although, my situation does include a stable family and friends that I get to visit, key items some are missing.  I was trying to pinpoint the normality of moving, making new friends, and leaving again as I thought about the chance of having lifelong friends.

The average American family moves every 5 years, which is funny because it takes nearly 5 years to get really close to someone (I think).  Most couples spend 3-5 years dating/engaged before they get married, and I doubt many people would argue that it takes that long to get to know someone on a deeper level.  So is the possibility of a lifelong friend, someone who has seen you through it all unlikely, or impossible with this instability?

Maybe unlikely, but optimistic me chooses to believe it's hard work but not impossible.  Our culture has made hard work less desirable, which is obvious by the explosion of commercialized one-stop shops.  Grocery stores sell personal items, usually have a pharmacy, and even school supplies, because it's convenient.  The top 5 retailers (Walmart, Kroger, Target, Walgreen, and Costco) are all based around being quick and cost-efficient.  But, do we apply this same criteria to our friends?  Do we make them quick and cost-efficient?

I was trying to do a case study on myself.  I thought of my 5 closest friends (friends who are related, not included) and was considering how long we'd been friends.  All except one are friends I have made in the last 5 years.  Obviously, this is because I've been 1000 miles from my childhood home, and everyone would agree that long-distance friends are less convenient and more work.  Now, I'm not saying that every friend should be lifelong.  I'm simply saying that relationships are vital to humankind, and the constant shuffle puts a strain on us to constantly say goodbye and make new friends.  We've created a culture where it's not cool to live in the same town you grew up in (especially if it's a small town), and we look forward to big promotions and moving to a new city with new people.

 Fresh and new is something to be desired, but is it keeping us from engaging in real friendships?  Real relationships?  I am blessed by the community I live in, the new friendships and relationships, but I can't help but hope for a day when those friendships are established, and the pressure of making new friends is gone.  There's another move in my near future and probably one or two more.  But instead of dreading that final resting place, I look forward to it, wherever it may be.

I laugh, because sometimes I think the kids I work with know more than me, and in some aspects, they do.  Some are much younger than me, but they already understand the importance of relationships and look forward to a resting place, a life that is not in transition.  I pray this stability is found for them soon.

I don't think it takes 5 years to form a solid relationship.  I thought I would celebrate when kids were healed and left us for a new home, but I realize that now when they leave, they're not just kids, they're my kids (our kids), and there's a bond that will be broken.  I dread the day each of them has to leave and hope that their next place is the last one.  For now, I can only wish them the best, say a prayer, and bid them so long, farewell!  

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