Monday, December 22, 2008

This is for you ladies

In two days, Christmas Eve, I'll walk out of NC bank forever. While getting a new job isn't out of the ordinary or worthy of a lot of posts, this change causes a few deeper thoughts for me. There's a little more going on than just switching office plants and deciding where to put my stapler. This departure is a finality of the deepest kind, the kind that involves people.

Many of you know about my commute and that those two hours were a large decider in my decision to leave. But one thing I hadn't considered was the fact that those two hours will all but eliminate any chance of me ever seeing these people again. Why? Because I doubt I'll be making the drive down the river to see them and I doubt they'll be driving up to see me either. Even though it's only a couple hours, those couple hours become monumental in the face of busy days and lives.

My friends Andrew & Lyndsay have spent the last 18 months living fourteen hours away from their childhood homes. Friday night they loaded everything they hadn't thrown away, sold, or left for free, into a Toyota and drove away. They left their friends and jobs and schools behind; their time there was done. As I talked to Andrew on his long drive home, he commented that the only people who bothered to call him about the move were the friends he'd had before. Not the people he'd lived with for 18 months, but rather the people he knew before. The people who never stopped being his friends even though he was six states away.

And those are some of the feelings I'm wrestling with. Are these coworkers I called friends just relationship flings? Of course not. I think of Cyndy who was my rock and I hers in some really stormy situations, Linda who never stopped supporting and loving me, Alice who very likely kept me off heavy medication these last twelve months, and of course others. Are these ladies not real friends? Are these friendships not real relationships? Because I knew the answers to those questions even before I asked them, how can I say I'll never see them again? How can I say they or I won't make an effort to connect; and effort to not forget?

Because I refuse to live in a fake snow globe of reality, that's why. Of course there could be efforts made on both parties to bridge the separation and the miles, but let's be bluntly honest here: it's probably not going to happen. There is a very real possibility I will never see a single person I've known and worked with for the last four years. That's just life.

Will I forget them? I hope not but probably. Will they forget me? I hope not but probably. But one thing I will remember is that for a few short years in the long timeline of life, I was loved and shared love back. In a place and time where existence should be bland, calculated, and cold, I smiled and laughed and felt. I will not look back on those years as wasted or blank. There will be memories and emotions. And not one, no not one, of those memories or emotions will involve the job or the location or the business; they will be because of the people and only the people. The people I was able to call friends.

I sat down to write today with the intention of describing a tragic human action we put ourselves through. But as I typed I grew to realize this time of transition away from the bank will not be all separation and no feelings, but rather an opportunity to realize I've been blessed by these women and honored to be a part of their lives. My heart will truly never forget you, even if my brain does. Thank you Cyndy and Linda and Alice. I love you all.


Blogger Kyle said...

Since I've lived in so many situations the last four years, I've experienced what you describe here several times. I'm a social guy so I like to make friends, but I also like the idea of having a few friends that I'm really close with. And I've had those friends here at home, in Akron, at camp, in Bluffton, and in Pittsburgh. I remember I actually cried the night before I left Pittsburgh not only because I realized that I had come to the end of the greatest semester of my college expereince and quite possible one of the greatest experiences of my life, but I also realized that there was a group of people around me that I had grown close to that I might not ever seen again. Certainly if I ever saw them again, the 13 people I had lived with would never be living together again.

On a brighter note, though, I have gotten to see some of my friends from Pittsburgh. in fact, just over Thanksgiving break I got to walk around Mill Creek Park with my buddy Colin. There are occasionally opportunities when I get to see friends of the past because I am in their area or they in mine, but it's not frequent. Sometimes the meetings are great and I have great conversations with people like we never left at all, but there are other times, especially with people that I haven't seen for a long time that the conversations are awkward because we both realize that the other has changed so much since we knew them. It's weird, but life seems to move on whether or not I'm ready for it.

Friends have always been important to me so I am willing to make the two hour drives to see them. I guess I just think that if I'm going to be willing to drive a great distance to see an aunt or uncle or even grandparent whose everyday life is not a part of mine, then I should certainly be willing to drive that far to see a friend who was an integral part of my everyday life.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Sam said...

Great thoughts, Kyle. And maybe you hit my emotions dead on. As much as I don't want to say it right now, maybe these friendships aren't what I thought they were. Maybe they're not important enough to make "any" effort, whether it be two hours or two minutes. I'd like to think that the relationships I described with these three ladies are more meaningful than simple aquantances, but what if they're not? What if they were necessary to help me survive both professionally and socially but not the kind of deep, lasting relationships that withstand the test of time and distance? Whatever the answer, what I wrote about these three ladies is still accurate and true; I am thankful for them and care for them. But if I were to be honest with, "life seems to move on whether or not I'm ready for it" I have to admit I will probably move on from these people quicker than I want to. And no amount of visits will be able to stop that.

Thanks for chiming in and allowing me to express a few additional thoughts.

8:39 AM  

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