Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Change is inevitable, except from vending machines. --Author unknown

I thought I'd start this post off with a little humor, as I desperately need it today. Hence, the above quote. But I have a heavy heart. Miranda's closest friend, almost like a sister, is moving this week. Taylor has been a part of all of our lives for a couple of years, basically since she moved here in first grade. I have watched her and Miranda's friendship evolve throughout this time, until it has reached the point of great compatibility, love, and understanding. Sure, they have their moments--what 9-yr.-old girls don't?--but I think theirs is truly the type of friendship that will stand the test of time. I had the pleasure of praying with her before she was baptized last summer. She has gone to AWANA and Sunday school with us quite often during the past couple of years, and has just generally felt like my 5th kid. I'm taking this hard. In fact, I'm crying as I type. I can't quite figure out if it's because I have a headache and am just generally wiped out today (we hosted our conference choir clinic yesterday; I was the accompanist). More likely, though, I am reliving a piece of my childhood through this experience.

It started in third grade, I think. I may have some of the details wrong, but this is how I remember it, some 27 years later. My two friends, Anne and Charlotte, sisters from across the street, moved to Lincoln. We spent much of our early childhood years together....Anne was one grade ahead of me, Charlotte one grade behind. We had such fun. Lemonade stands, torturing my little brother, kickball games in my front yard....I could go on. When they moved I knew they'd come back sometimes, as they had ties to the Chadron area. In fact they often did come back in the summers, and we were always able to pick up where we'd left off. To this day, I keep in touch with each of them, and would LOVE to have a reunion (hint hint). A few years ago, before they had their babies, and before I had my last two, we did get together and went to the Black Hills--just the 3 of us.

Next, my friend Andrea moved to Indiana. I think this happened around the same time. I remember this being especially difficult, as I knew, even in my 8-yr.-old brain, that Indiana is a whole lot farther than Lincoln. We wrote a lot of letters. I cried a lot. She actually did move back a year or so later, but then moved again, this time to North Dakota. Interestingly enough, I just found her again on Facebook. Although I haven't kept up a friendship with her, it's so cool just to be able to see what she's doing, see what she looks like, and see her family. Facebook has made my world a little smaller.

In sixth grade, it was my friend Alyssa. We'd been friends since preschool. Great friends. We'd challenge each other to little "piano competitions," make up gymnastics routines, do 4-H projects together, sing, dance...you name it. We had a lot in common. I remember that when I found out she was moving to Rapid City (only 2 hrs. away), I couldn't even look at her in band class, or I'd start to cry. We have stayed in touch over the years. We've even gotten together a few times in Rapid City, where she still lives. I'm sure we'll always stay in touch, even if it's just through Christmas cards and the occasional e-mail.

After my freshman year, my friend Jennifer moved to Chicago. Her dad had been saying for several years that a move was coming, so I did have time to prepare myself, but it was still hard. We sort of drifted apart during my freshman year, possibly because she had a boyfriend who was a couple years older, and I was just a tag-along. But after my senior year, I did fly to Chicago and spend almost a week with her. We had changed, both of us, but it was still a fun time, and I consider her a friend to this day. Once again, we've found each other on Facebook, and I feel as though I could sit down with her and reminisce, and there would still be that little spark of friendship that we had had since our early elementary days.

Paul's best friend, Grant, moved a couple years ago. The neat thing is that his mom and I have made an effort to get them together several times a year, and through these reunions, Aaron and I have grown even closer to Rod and Diane. We still miss Grant, however, and still think of him as a big brother for Paul. A couple of weeks ago, when Miranda was telling Paul and I that Taylor was going to move, Paul said to her, "It will be really hard for a while. You'll be really lonely." His advice and wisdom was so touching to me, especially when I consider that he's a mere 15 months older than she is.

Yet, I see that even with these changes, God is at work. Paul has been given a new close friend. It has been neat to see that develop. Miranda will be ok. In fact, I think she's dealing with this better than I am. If she cries, it isn't in front of me. And I can see that every time a close friend moved away when I was a child, God reached in and "filled the gap," so to speak.

Perhaps another reason I'm emotional about all of this, is that I know that this will just be one of many goodbyes for Miranda. I had to say it again a few years ago to my friend Delores, who had become a second-mother, a mentor, and a dear friend. It doesn't get much easier even when you're an adult. I still miss our weekly Bible studies, almost-daily phone chats, piano duets at church, and so much more. And there's Mary Jo, who also moved several years ago. This is someone with whom I'd spent literally hours on the phone, talking about anything and everything. With both of these friends, I know I will still keep in touch, will still see them occasionally, and we will always call ourselves 'friends," but the miles are there, and that alone is a factor which causes things to change. Here again, though, even in adulthood, God is working to "fill the gap," and I have many wonderful friends who each have a different role in my life.

I don't like change, but as the quote above states, it's inevitable. God is the one who doesn't change, and I pray that my children will know that, and believe it wholeheartedly.


Deb Echols said...

Your post made me cry as I can totally relate. I have said quite a few goodbyes over the years and it never gets any easier. I too know that God does stand in the gap and is a freind that will always be closer than a brother. Hang in There. It's hard to see your children go through these times too, I have been there also!

Sharon said...

As I was reading your post, I thought I just have to comment, but now I'm not sure what to say. I was usually the one doing the leaving as I grew up. It has been wonderful to finally live somewhere for this long and have actually learned (and still learning) what friendship is all about. Thank you for that, Sara!! Luv ya!!

Walkers said...

Sara, I just wanted to let you know I miss you dearly and love you tons! You are one of my dearest friends!!!

Jason and Jaime Weiss said...

Sara~ Your post mad me sad. I am very sorry to hear that Taylor is leaving. I know how close her and Miranda are.

Tami Vrbas said...

Sara, I know how you feel. Saying good-bye is so hard...but I also found that God helped to fill the empty spot inside me, too...I still cry and feel sad when I think of my best friend Connie who moved away when our kids were little. We were like sisters in the Lord, and boy do I miss her! I think I'll give her a call. Thanks!!

So often, I will hear the Lord whisper to me when I'm sad, and time after time, it is, "I will never leave you or forsake you. I will be with you always, even unto the end of the age." Man, I've stood on that verse and found it to comfort and console me soooo much.

(((((((((Sarah)))))))))) (hug)

Jami Arenz said...

Oh Sara...I feel for you! It is hard to say goodbye to our friends. I feel bad that Taylor is leaving, too, as she and Kacie had really started becoming close... finally. Kacie did say something very mature the other day though. She told me "I might not be Taylor, but maybe I can help Miranda by doing things with her again." She's sad to see Taylor go, too. She said that Taylor isn't real excited about leaving, so we will be praying for her, as well as your family.

savedbyHisblood said...

I have never liked change either. Like Sharon, I have usually been the one to leave. It is always sad, but God always provides somebody. Now, I have friends from various different places which is nice because I know that if I am ever in their areas I have a place to stay.