Friday, July 24, 2009

they come and they go; they come and they go...

Sometimes I just wish they would stay. Not forever, I know, but for time enough. I wish they would stay in my life, in my living room, at my table.

Two friends are going overseas, living for a year in a place where I just hope my letters will arrive. And I know they will return, but we were just getting to know them more, it seems. And the word has now come of another couple leaving, an unexpected friendship, but the kind you know you need to have around; the kind of friendship that needs you just as much. And 4 hours isn't that much, but it's not like living across town.

And what about us? Aren't we always sitting on the edge of our seat, wondering when we'll need to jump up and run to the next town? the next job? Aren't we often discontented (though mostly we shouldn't be) with where we are?

I digress. This isn't really about going or staying... it's about the loss that comes with. It's about change. It's about seasons never staying too long, because without the Winter, the Spring can't be as green. And without the Summer, we can't appreciate hot chocolate and cuddling in the cold during the New Years Eve fireworks.

The seasons must change.

But right now, I'm turning a bit of a cold shoulder to these seasons; they change too quickly for me these days. Will we be given the grace of deep friendships? Of ones who knows us and love us and willingly stay in our lives? Or will we just grasp aimlessly, hoping someone sticks around and chooses to let us in?

But then I think of Matt and Aislinn, friends who have never been a car ride away (except for those fun 2 months back in Miss-Sippy!) I think of our defeat of time and space and how our times together are filled with jewelry-making and Southern dinners and Vermont hikes and laughter and honesty. And even our time apart is filled with good--good that can't be torn by seaons of change.

In the past 2 years, I've spent time hoping and praying that we will be swept away, "sent" to go be with them, live in a big house, raise our babies together (don't get any ideas; no babies for me yet), and argue and make-up and get through it together. But while I was weeding the onions the other night, I thought that maybe time and distance is a good way to start off. Maybe we are building something unique and unbreakable because we've chosen to keep building this bond across state lines.

At the end of this talk of leaving and hurting and re-building new friendships, I realize this is the stuff of life; I know it. And so I'll take every minute, every laughter, every prayer, every meal, and live into it fully, breathe deep its meaning.

I am long in staying; I am slow to leave
especially when it comes to you, my friend

...I'll take every moment, and every minute that you give me.
["Every Minute" by Sara Groves]

The glory of God is many fully alive.
[St. Irenaeus]

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Moscow, Pskov, St. Pete...

I'm less than halfway through my 2-week stint in Russia with a group of folks from my church. We spent a couple of days in crowded Moscow, and though there were some neat things to see, it's just too cramped with too many non-smiling faces. Add cold and rain to the equation, and you have a gal who is ready to get to quaint Pskov, which is where we are now.

We will spend more of our time here (until next Tuesday), and the folks from Pskov UMC are taking such good care of us! We are staying in homes which is so much more personal. The folks are nicer, move more slowly, and laugh at us less often (for being American). I really like it here, AND as a little gift, we have hot water! We didn't have it in Moscow and were prepared not to have it here. They turn it off for about 2 weeks each year to clean the pipes, whatever that means. Anyhow, we're glad to have it, and even if it goes off, we'll be glad for what we had. You become grateful for the things you do have when they are taken away from you. And hopefully you also realize that some of these luxuries you can live without. In fact, I'll go back to the apartment tonight to take some clothes out of the washer and hang them to dry on the little porch.

We go to St. Petersburg next Tuesday and then fly back home on Saturday the 18th. I DO like Russia, but so far, I really like small, charming Russia (Pskov) and not crowded, expensive Russia (Moscow).

Go with God, friends...