As we prepare to leave our home for a new adventure we must say goodbye to many wonderful friends. In thirty years of life in Langley, and before that, many years in Seattle, our list of friends, acquaintances, neighbors, political allies, and I-don't-know-your-name-but-we've-been-saying-hi-for-years folks. The list is long and the names and faces behind the list are very dear.
For better than a decade my book group has been gathering to talk books, politics and life events. We've shared, right along with great books, the sorrows of death, happiness of new grandchildren, the delight of new puppies, and the challenges of health problems. Our friendships have deepened and enriched us as we've moved through our years of reading and talking and laughing and crying.
There are political allies too. Folks we've shared various campaigns with for the past 45 years from Seattle and Whidbey Island both. Campaigns sought and lost or won and causes fought for, sometimes with amazing success, sometimes with stunning defeat. We're engaged in cheers, jeers, and tears as we let our hearts and our heads have their way.
As with any life, we have a long list of the good and the bad neighbors. The good ones, years later, long after moving from the neighborhood, are still friends and missed almost daily. Just this past year, after leaving my Seattle neighborhood 30 years ago, we enjoyed a neighborhood reunion. Neighbors are a bit like family. We don't pick our neighbors but in spending years talking over the fence, negotiating neighborhood issues, and in sharing kids and pets and garden tools, often very long term and special friendships are formed. Neighbors can become very dear friends, and often do in special ways that cross political, age and interest barriers.
In a small town there are the numerous encounters with folks weekly as we meet in the grocery, coffee shop or thrift store. Quick chats, over a number of years, add up to friendships. Kids, health, books, jobs and pets are discussed, along with the weather being too cold, too wet or just right. Why these encounters don't always result in dinner parties or wedding invitations is curious but everyone seems content to enjoy the spontaneity without the follow through. Chance encounters bring on hugs, good wishes or expressions of concern and these friendships spill and overlap and bounce about in a delightful way through the years.
But, we're leaving all this. We're moving to Ecuador. We're leaving our friends and our town and our well established lives in the Pacific Northwest. We're headed off to explore new neighbors, new cities, and to enjoy new adventures. Will we miss our friends? You bet we will. Skype, Facebook and e-mail will be our life lines to the many, many relationships we hold so dear but we won't feel the warm hugs or see the twinkle in the eye and we will be sad for that loss.
“I think if I've learned anything about friendship, it's to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don't walk away, don't be distracted, don't be too busy or tired, don't take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.” ~ Jon Katz