I’ve never had much trouble with goodbyes. I’ve never really believed them.
Graduation at Taylor is coming up in a few weeks, and my own graduation was almost a year ago. I’ve had a lot of goodbyes in the last year, and more are soon to come. But I’ve always assumed that these “goodbyes” were actually “see you laters”. And in many cases, they were. I’ve remained close to Taylor, and many alumni have returned for campus visits in the last several months.
But some goodbyes are still goodbyes.
There are people from Gerig Hall that I haven’t seen in a year, or even two. There are people I went to school with at Taylor Fort Wayne that I haven’t seen in three. And my connection to people I knew in high school is tenuous at best.
Friends move away, get new jobs, get married, and have kids, and the bonds stretch until they’re as thin as twine…or they just snap.
My list of Facebook friends feels to me at times like the assortments of odds and ends that fill my house. There are so many things in my house that I will probably never use, but I hang on to them, just in case. These Facebook friendships are the same way: I may never really interact with many of these people, but I think, “What if we become really good friends again?”
But if we’re not good friends now, years of separation is not going to strengthen a friendship. Distance only makes the heart grow fonder for a little while…”out of sight, out of mind” eventually becomes the more appropriate aphorism.
Perhaps we cling to some of these friendships because they remind us of who we used to be, and if we lose those ties, we’ll lose part of who we were.
I’m okay with that.
I’m not the man I was five years ago, three years ago, or even 12 months ago. I’m so much better. My college years and life after college have only made me grow, and, with God’s help, I believe I’m only going to continue to grow from here. High school was fun, but I don’t fit there any more. The same goes for college. And someday soon, I’ll be saying the same thing about working at Ivanhoes and living in Upland.
You outgrow the different stages of your life, and you outgrow many of your friends, just as they’re outgrowing you. Because you can’t be friends with everybody. There isn’t enough time to stay good friends with everyone you’ve shared memorable experiences and rich conversations with.
And that’s a good thing.
Some friendships have to end so that new ones can begin. Otherwise, we never grow.
So to all the friends who have left, and to all the friends who are leaving,
Maybe we will meet again…and maybe we won’t.
It’s been good knowing you for as long as I have, but sometimes, we all have to move on.
Life doesn’t end. It just keeps beginning.