I was looking forward to my Sunday, today. Sunday mornings are calming. Church is familiar, singing in the choir is a good way to get me going for the day, and it probably doesn’t hurt to get a little dressed up and be out amongst people. It reminds me that my hermit impression is well-developed but not my only choice.
So I was going along on my merry way this morning. About twenty minutes into the service we got to the “sharing of joys and concerns” part, and a friend of mine announced that she’s moving away. Far away. Soon.
When my glasses started fogging up, I realized I was crying.
She had hinted to me, in a recent email, that there was news coming. This particular news hadn’t even occurred to me, although of course in hindsight it makes sense. This move will be wonderful for her, I know. There are great and logical reasons for her to go. And we’ll stay in touch.
But as I sat through the rest of the service, weeping silently, I wasn’t thinking about how beneficial it will be for her or how I know that she’ll stay in my life even from a distance.
I was thinking about how she saw strength in me when I could not. I was thinking about how she seems to have understood me practically from when we first met. I was thinking about how she dropped everything to be with me on one of the hardest days of my life. I was thinking about how she was the first person I told when I realized I was going to divorce my husband. I was thinking about how she has always known when to call, when to email, when to check on me, when to let me know she’s thinking about me.
I was thinking about how much I’ve taken for granted. I was thinking about what a gift she has been to me, and how I can’t even imagine her not being here. I was thinking about how I went to see her after her surgery and painted her toenails, and she came to see me after my surgery and brought me toe rings. (I was thinking that seems like some sort of bizarre mutual foot fetish we have, or something, but I never thought it was weird, for some reason.) I was thinking that I am going to miss her like crazy and I am SO TIRED of feeling like everything good in my life is temporary.
And then–wouldn’t you know it, on the weekend before Thanksgiving–the pastor gave a sermon about thankfulness and grace. I sat there soaking one tissue after another while he spoke of seeking the ability to see the good in everything. So I had a plethora of decidedly un-Christian and self-pitying thoughts about his message, but was able to arrive at the conclusion that yes, this is right. This is someone who has given of herself in so many ways, often to the point of neglecting her own needs, and now it is time for her to do this.
So. Susanne, I’m as happy for you as I can be with a little hole in my heart. I hope you know how important you are to me. I hope the best is yet to come. And you had better be so happy that I can’t possibly continue being sad. I mean it. Or I am totally going to hunt you down and paint your toenails black. Just you try me.