Our friends Lanae and Scott came over tonight with their three boys. I got to know her by doing the Excellent Wife study with her a couple of years ago. Her husband's in the military and so we don't see him as often as we see each other, but now they're looking to move away to Denver, and so our friendship is becoming all the more fraught with the dread of parting and we think of new ways to increase our getting together before it happens.
Our boys have hit it off--they go to music together once per week and she and I will take turns being with them and taking them for the afternoon, and at our house, when she picks her boys up, they all stay for dinner. It's been great for all of us! And though Lanae and Scott are quite a bit younger than we are, we just all get along so well, the conversation is constant and though they may intend to go and get the kids home for bedtimes, it tends to run on for another hour before they actually leave. This parting thing has been something of a pattern for Tim; he's made friends with various military family boys, or just other boys that have moved far away, and this is probably the closest family that he's been having to face that with so far. It's tough.
Perhaps this potential for parting makes us value friendships all the more; I would say it makes us appreciate our time with this family all the more, though we've been happy for their friendship and how easy it is from the time we got to know each other. Scott says that on his ship, there are co-workers who are suddenly realizing he won't be there any more, and their friendships with him that had been quite casual are suddenly becoming closer. It's a strange phenomenon, that we sometimes have to realize we're going to lose a relationship to start appreciating it.
The good thing is that we will probably keep in touch by e-mail, by phone, and maybe they or we will be able to visit, and they are talking about moving back when he's done in three years' time. It's still hard to lose them. Today's conversation was marked by a lot of their plans to get rid of furniture and belongings (I relate; we're doing the same thing) and the other natural concerns that come with a change of location and job position. I think I understand better now when Stacia next door gets edgy when I talk about us moving (though as time progresses I realize that preparing our house and scaling back our belongings is likely to take more work and time than I was thinking). But we're not moving to Denver--probably just closer to our church about 15 or so minutes' drive away. It's funny though. A year ago we were almost all-systems-go to move to Colorado ourselves, before it was the destination of our friends--though we had our sights on Colorado Springs rather than Denver. I had already spent significant time reading about it online (Colorado Springs was rated the most liveable city in America), looking at Realtor.com for the area (real estate prices there were about half what they are here), and I'd called various places regarding moving equipment and alternatives to figure out costs.
Instead we fell in love with this church we're attending, our whole family did, and now we can't think of unfastening ourselves for such a move as Colorado, though being sort of close to Lanae and Scott and their boys (for that three years) would surely be a plus if we did. I'm sure glad we're not in the military and subject to having them plan the course of our geographical locations. Granite Falls may just be stuck with us; how could we leave now? In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. (Prov. 16:9) I'm glad that's the case, He definitely knows better than we do what is best. His sovereignty often (read: nearly constantly) trumps my intentions, and it is a very good thing.