Among these friends:
Rachel (my best friend from high school), with whom I shared the excitement of the Running Start program, where we went to college during high school, and who has been an important partner in my seeking and discovering both faith and ways to do good in the world...who recently got married in a fantastic (if I do say so myself) ceremony in Seattle. (why yes, I did do the ceremony! and I did refrain from using my impromptu "sermon" in the ceremony to tell Alan, her new husband, how funny I think it is that one of the things Rachel keeps saying is that she likes to hang out with him, in spite of the fact that Rachel is the only person I know who has ever declared a moratorium on "hanging out." (scroll down to January 13) LOL.)
Amy (my best friend...we met in seminary), who I didn't like at first and who didn't like me! Amy has been with me through so much...seminary, relationships, good choices and mistakes, adventures and explorations (which is NOT the same thing as being lost!), travels, hopes and dreams both fulfilled and dashed. We may live hundreds of miles apart, but still our friendship grows thanks to cell phones and airplanes.
Elsa (a fantastic friend I met through the young clergy women project), who opened her heart and her home when I so needed both of those things. Elsa also knows how to challenge and support simultaneously, which is a little ridiculously impressive. She calls me on my crap, listens when I spout my neurotic issues, and knows how to use twitter and text messaging to great effect. I particularly appreciate the way she is compassionate and loving and blunt all at the same time. And, of course, the parts of our journey that we share in common make her a wonderful sounding board and comforter when I'm particularly neurotic about health issues or grief stuff.
The PFC girls--my McHenry County friends, amazing women who play and laugh and cry and are generally wonderful. They are fun to hang out with, good friends and wonderful people. Their compassion, willing spirits, and great laughs make my life here very good.
Among these PFC girls is one who is moving away. I know from experience (obviously) that it is more than possible to maintain and even grow friendships without living near each other. But it's still hard--to know that the days of random dinner parties or late-night tv watching or shouting at Mario Kart or spur-of-the-moment hot cocoa with bailey's nights are coming to an end, to know that when I forget something I can't just call this friend to help, to realize how much that friendship has come to mean and to contemplate the ways it will change now that we have to drive 4 hours to visit in person. We'll still be friends, and we'll still be close I'm sure, but it will be different. So I think I'll take this moment to just say thanks: Thanks for being my friend, for keeping me sane, for listening and talking and watching The Doctor and talking about Buffy and commiserating sometimes and doing rituals and making up youth group games. You're awesome. I'll miss you.
As is probably obvious from my list of good friends, I'm not used to being one who stays behind. I've almost always been the one who moved away. It's a weird feeling, but I suppose it's part of being a grown up and part of living in a culture where people move for economic and family and other kinds of opportunity. I understand it, but I don't have to like it (lol).