Wednesday, May 4

And here we go again...

Yeah, still dealing with my friends leaving. Some days I do ok with it, some days not so much so. But it was a good bit of comfort to discuss it with my spiritual director the other day. While talking with her, I finally grew convinced of something. Even now, it seems weird and prideful to say this, but I think it's true.

I used to think that I shouldn't have abandonment issues, since my parents never divorced and my mom stayed at home with myself and my sister. Usually it's kids whose parents have split up or worked constantly that have these issues, so I've always assumed I was just kidding myself. But maybe it's healthy to admit that I have these issues, rather than continually denying them, assuming that I shouldn't have them. If I have these issues, then they're there, regardless of how they got there.

I am so tired of friends leaving. They always leave. When I was little, all my friends moved away from Fort Worth; I was the last one to leave. We moved to Hereford, and went to First Baptist church there. I made friends and enjoyed it. Then we started going to another church, and I didn't see my friends after that. My best friend, the pastor's daughter, never spoke to me again. After a few years at the other church, we switched back, and I began to make friends again. The previous church had been terrible, and I was horribly lonely. The youth pastor and his wife at FBC were wonderful people, and did a lot to make me feel welcome. Then, just over a year after moving back to that church, we moved to Dumas, and I lost all my friends over again. I never made too many friends in Dumas, I was too odd, and wasn't particularly acceptable. Of the friends I did make, I rarely speak to any of them.

I came to college and made a new group of friends. Who, for some reason, decided to stop talking to me and including me about 2 years later. So I made another group of friends. Who stabbed me in the back, and decided that I wasn't worth talking to when I wasn't of any use. So I moved to another group of friends, who are all now leaving. They say they'll stay in contact, but I have my doubts. Actually, the doubts are all I have. I simply don't believe that it's true. I've seen what happens to college friendships when you no longer live close by: the other person becomes just a name on a mass-produced Christmas letter that you get in February. If they're an especially good friend, you might see a little hand-written note at the bottom of the mass-produced letter.

Bitter? Yeah, a little. I think what gets to me the most is this: In Torrey, one of the big focuses is community. So everybody learns the importance of community, and blathers about it nonstop, about how they're going to build community in the areas they move to...But no-one stays to preserve the community here. I'm not saying that everyone has to stay--that would be a bit counter-productive. But it seems like no-one stays. And I know that my priorities are different from other people's: the other day, one of my friends mentioned that there's nothing for her here anymore, except church and a few friends. Church and a few friends are my main reasons for staying here, so that reply caught me a little off-guard.

And this post is now far too long, so I'll stop here.

1 comment:

slowlane said...

Hi Joi,

I feel a long response coming on, so please forgive if I start to ramble.

I think I understand a lot of your feelings about community and feelings of abandonment. The place I considered my home for over a decade is a ghost town, its residents have literally scattered around the world. In all likelyhood, I will never see that home again, nor many of those who made up my community. Most of them qualify on the list for Christmas card greetings, but I am constantly surprised at how much more is just hidden underneath the surface that comes out at unexpected moments.

I say this to compare it to the community we talked about in college. To my understanding, the purpose of the Torrey community was to teach us how to make a community. It was to show us the values, the benefits, the struggles and how to overcome them, it was to create a bond that would strengthen us for learning. We did that in college by sharing dorm rooms and eating meals together and spending enormous amounts of hours together in class just hanging out. But that can't be how our community looks ten years or even three years out of college. We all are called to different places to use what we learned in college, and that will mean building other communities. But I believe that many of the bonds that were formed will remain more than just Christmas card notations. I believe that the community we built will continue to support eachother even after we go for months or years without meaningful contact.

Part of what happens is simply due to the "city" principle of relationships that there are so many possible relationships that you can only have so many that receive the energy needed to sustain contact.

And you and I are more likely to see the decline because we are still single and not as distracted by the things that marriage brings with it.

I'm starting to ramble...

The point of all this is that my extreme aversion to good-byes (avoiding people the last week of school so that I wouldn't have to figure out how to say the dreaded word) is fought with the awakening knowledge that my community is bigger and stronger than I realize. I still have more in common with people I grew up with who I haven't seen in ten years than several of my roommates from college (none of the ones you know ;) ). I think that it will be very similar with the community we built among our classmates. And secondly, our community will not slowly fade because we are a small part of an eternal community. This is hard for me to see sometimes, but what has happened is that when it is time for good-byes I echo some of the last words from "Fiddler on the Roof." "Next year in Jerusalem." A whole lot may happen in between now and then, but some day there will be a reunion in Jerusalem.

I'm not sure exactly how much I have written has to do with your post. Oh well.