March 2, 2009

Counting My Blessings

A friend of mine just left the country. He and his family are moving to Belgium. I know, who moves to Belgium, right? But he just retired from the military and got a great job offer. And, honestly, if I had a chance to live in Europe, I'd do it in a heartbeat. His wife and her kids will be joining them at the end of the school year but he had to fly out on Sunday.

Have you ever had any of your friends move away? Most of the time I'm the one who's moving but not always. As soon as I found out they were heading to Europe, I felt like crying. Why is it that I don't take advantage of the people around me until I find out they are leaving? Do you know what I mean? We attend homegroup at their house and she teaches piano to my kids. We see each other and have a great time when we do. But upon learning they were leaving, I was so angry with myself for never having made more of an effort to spend one on one time with them.

These aren't people that are sort of "peripheral" friends. You know, the kind that you say hi to at church but don't really make any effort to get together with. I love to be around them. They are so funny and so much fun to be with. They have a great dynamic. I have a habit of intensely observing other couples and how they interact with each other. I love to watch these two. They have absolute respect for one another and aren't afraid to get completely goofy.

I've felt like some kind of leech or something since their moving announcement. I'm desperate to spend time with them. He just left as I said, but it just makes me that much more insistent to spend time around her and soak her all in. No, I'm not obsessed with these people. I'm not some kind of Kathy Bates/Misery/I'm-your-number-one-fan psycho. But I've learned the hard way that I don't appreciate the people around me until they're gone.

Last year, a couple at church moved to Texas suddenly. Well, sort of suddenly. They'd been trying to move for well over a year but they had to wait for their house to sell. I had plenty of notice that they would be leaving and my husband and I kept telling ourselves that we should spend more time with them before they left. We enjoyed their company and knew we would miss them when they were gone. Weeks went by and then months and finally more than a year. We never did invite them over or do anything with them. It was just talking to them on Sundays or at the occasional church function. When their house sold, they were gone within a week and we had no idea. We never got a chance to tell them how much they would be missed.

Now it's happening again. Such is the way of life when you're an adult. People move, things change. I know this is the best for their family and I'm happy they have such an amazing opportunity. But my selfish side (which is the bigger side of me) wants to keep them here. I will miss their sense of humor and their conversation. I will also miss the two little ones. Her son has the most contagious laugh and her daughter speaks my language. I love them both fiercely.

One good thing is that with the internet, it's easy to keep in touch with everyone. And she will still be here for the next few months. I intend to take advantage of that time as much as possible until she leaves or gets really sick of me, whichever comes first!

Take a bit of advice from me and count your blessings while they are still in front of you. Don't wait until they're gone.

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