Sunday, March 2, 2014

Seven Years and Counting

        Have you ever had your best friend move away? No? Take a moment and thank God for that right now. It's a difficult business - one that can make you doubt sometimes if He really is in control of your life - but is something that a lot of people have to go through. Even if it's not your very closest friend, it's still tough, which I'm sure a lot of you can relate to. 
        My best friends moved away to Maine three years ago. We were best friends - we did everything together. We were all home-schooled, and once a week, we would get together for school; alternating whose house we would meet at. My mom would teach us all science, and their mom would teach us all history, and we would have time to play after that. We sat together in the church service, sketching fancy dresses on our church bulletins when we were too young to pay attention to the sermon, and a bit later in life, comparing our notes on what the pastor was speaking on. For the first couple years of our friendship, we were also at gymnastics for 18 hours a week together, before they switched gyms - that was actually where we met. Our moms were also  great friends; they chatted while we had four hour gymnastics practices, sat together at our competitions, studied Scripture with each other, and shared school ideas, politics, and pretty much everything else. I suppose there was really no way we could have not been friends! Even after they switched gyms, we still saw each other at least three or four times a week. We had sleepovers more numerous than weeks, had a whole imaginary world that we would 'go to, danced together, wrote books, and made up languages. Really, we never thought that we might ever be separated.

Swimming together several years ago (I'm in the middle)

        We were. I think I only found out about two months before they left for Maine, all of the way across the country (I live in California).  The week before they left, my mom took us out to get frozen yogurt and do a photoshoot at a park near their house, but I can't find any of those pictures on my computer right now. I think we saw each other one time after that, and then they were gone. Cue lots of tears, lots of locking myself in my room and thinking about them, and lots of cross-country letters coming and going through my mailbox. My mom, who had been emailing their mom, said that one of the girls - the one who is exactly my age - was crying herself to sleep every night because she was lonely, and I was close to that. Anyone who has been in this situation will know exactly the kind of emotions I was going through at this point, and it was not fun. Going from seeing each other every other day to not seeing each other at all was, in short, emotionally fatiguing. I missed them so much, and I could tell from the letters I was getting that I was missed too.
        That summer, I was able to go to their house and stay with them for two weeks, which was amazing! They live right across the street from the ocean and have a private section of the beach, so we swam every day, sewed regency dresses, and watched period dramas and Hogan's Heroes. I still didn't really have any friends in California, and they didn't have any in Maine. The next year, I got to go again to their house, and we did pretty much the same things - lots of sewing, knitting, good movies and books, and good girlish talks. I was in need of other girls I could pour my heart out to, and I didn't have any at home. We made up songs when we soaked in the bathtub in our swimsuits after freezing in the ocean, and hiked through the woods. We gathered flowers for bouquets and picked strawberries in our regency dresses and poke bonnets. The summer after that, last summer, we didn't see each other at all. We didn't come to visit my grandpa in PA, which was the original reason for our other trips, so my annual trip to their house didn't happen. It has been over a year and a half since I have seen them.
        Let me just say this, letters help a lot with loneliness and missing your friends. I think they are better than emails, and even phone calls sometimes (although that might just be because I don't like talking on the phone). Three or four page letters, filled with tiny cursive handwriting, make your day when they arrive, and are a joy to write as well. I actually just got a letter from Maine and will be answering it shortly. On the same subject, when they moved, I got them each a sealing wax set, so they can seal their letters. That just adds to the quaintness and beauty of the letters. Now, I have a whole stack of letters from Maine in my desk drawer, tied with a ribbon. As well as telling each other what has been going on in our lives, we also trade herbal salve and soap recipes, GAPS recipes, Bible verses, and many other things. Every year, she sends me medicinal seaweed from their little cove, and I make her chickweed salve in coconut oil and send it off. Her past few letters that I have gotten have given me an ache in my heart. I miss them so much! One thing that makes me feel especially bad is that they really don't have any friends there. Like at all. They do ballet, but apparently the girls there aren't really the type that they as strong Christians want to be friends with. The letters I get convey so much loneliness and sadness that it makes me tear up just thinking about it, and remembering how much I miss them as well, especially the girl my age. I, however, have friends here. Not best friends, but lots and lots of strong believers at church that I can be around. Even if I can't have a really heart to heart talk with a lot of them, at least we have one interest in common - our love of Christ. None of them like Regency dresses, goats, wide open plains, or getting their boots dirty. No, they wouldn't even have any boots that they would think about walking through mud in. But it must be so much harder in Maine, because they haven't found a church that they feel is one they would want to go to.
        I miss my friends! I miss all of the fun we had together in the past years they have been away, and all of the fun we had before they left! There is a possibility that the girl I am closest to, the one my age, will come to visit for a few weeks this June, and we will get to see each other for the first time in two years! I am really hoping that works out, for obvious reasons. There has been a sort of hollowness in my heart ever since they moved, and I think we need at least a good three weeks together.
         If you've ever had a best friend move away, you'll know exactly the kind of longing and loneliness you feel when this happens; how you think about them all of the time and wish you were together. I have known my friends for seven years, and often, friendships longer than that have been ripped apart by a move. You go somewhere or do something, and think to yourself, "Oh, how ------ would love this!"
        And you know that no one can ever replace them. Really, your best friend in these situations is Christ, and it is recognizing that and calling on Him that can heal you. I read my Bible an amazing amount when they first moved, and I felt like it really helped me. So if this has happened to you, I feel your pain! I know what it's like! And trust me, it's only God who can help.



  1. Reyna,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can definitely relate to just about everything you've mentioned.

    Aspen and I have been best friends for going on six years now and just in the past couple years have we gotten so incredibly close. If we got any closer, we'd be molded together lol!
    We didn't see each other quite as often as you saw yours, but we made a point to plan get-togethers with each other as often as we could. And when we did, we did everything together. We talked about anything & everything and never ran out of anything to talk about or ever got tired of talking about the same thing over and over again. We would constantly quote movies, watch movies, cook like crazy, laugh our heads off at EVERYTHING, cuddle her chickens & ducks, make smoothies & experiment with new healthy recipes or making other recipes healthier, and take long walks down dirt roads barefoot.
    We went through the same situation as you though... Only I was the one to move away. I refused to believe or accept it. Even after we moved I still just couldn't believe that we had left. We were only 8 hours from each other (nothing like the distance you and your friends share), but still it was way too far. I've never been one to cry when saying goodbye, but when I had to tell her bye, the tears came out and wouldn't stop. They didn't stop for months. I was depressed, angry, sad, upset, and felt like part of me was gone. Then in September I left for a job in California, which took me even further away from Aspen and my friends. We keep in touch mainly with texts and each others' blogs and an occasional phone call when we need it (I'm not a fan of talking on the phone as well).
    It took me a good while, but after Christmas, when I came back to California after a two week break back at home (unfortunately we were unable to see each other), I finally started to heal or rather allow God to start healing me. I started reading my Bible daily and praying and talking with Him every day. It helped so much and while I am still sad and miss Aspen and my other friends oh so much, I've learned to be happy again. I haven't made any friends here in California which is fine because this is only temporary and back home I've gotten to know a few people I enjoy to be around, but like you said, no one can replace my friends especially my best friends and no one I would really have a heart-to-heart talk with.
    I'm looking forward to when I finally get to go home (in May hopefully) because we are planning on hopefully to be able to get together and spend a couple weeks together!

    Thanks again for sharing. It really touched me.


    1. I'm glad you, well, appreciated (for lack of a better word) my ranting. And your comment really spoke to me as well! I can really relate to what you said in the second paragraph about what you did together! Everything! Thanks so much for sharing your story as well!