A friend told me yesterday that she is going to move away. I knew this was coming, her husbands job was just temporary, but still I felt that familiar ache.
I grew up in a town with lots of coming and going. People came for a season in their lives and then left. My best friends were the ones who stayed. It takes time to build friendships, for roots to go deep.
As an adult, I lived in a situation where we were hosting many groups that came for a few weeks or a few months. We laughed, we got to know each other and then it was time to say goodbye again. I often has wistful feelings of wanting more time with them, but I knew it wasn't forever.
The most painful goodbyes were the friends we wept with, we watched get married and have babies. We spent long evenings with wine and conversations and we celebrated birthdays together. They held my babies and I gave relationship advice. When they left us or we left them, it hurt so deeply.
So now I am back in my hometown that still has a revolving door of people. I try to love deeply as I can while people are here, but I have to admit that part of me holds back. Part of me is testing the waters to see if they really will stay before I commit. Because leaving and being left hurts.
God, help me to love with a full heart. Help me to hold friends with open hands.