Last night we said goodbye to some friends. Some really, really good friends.
We met Dave and Maria the first or second day we arrived in Pasadena in the small parking lot that separated our apartments, which were both rather oddly laid out apartments in matching-but-not-quite-matching little old white houses. Despite having traveled from different parts of the country, many elements of our stories were similar. We had both just gotten married, Dave and I were starting the same graduate program while our wives were going to pay the bills, we had come from different-but-similar church backgrounds, had read the same books, were on similar social/political journeys, etc. I guess you could say we “clicked.” Classes, parties, conversations, parties, car washing, moving, meals, camping, games, exploring. Lots of time spent doing life together.
It seems like yesterday that we were at the hospital meeting this tiny baby boy of theirs. Amazing to watch friends become parents – a process through which human beings suddenly, miraculously and exponentially increase their capacity for love, gentleness, and patience while simultaneously decreasing their need for sleep. Amazing to watch a baby become a little boy, running wild with all the imagination, creativity, and joy that a two-year old can muster. Independent, curious, hilarious, intelligent. Intent on exploring and understanding anything within range of his senses.
Fast forward four years after that first parking lot encounter and we are standing in an apartment, empty except for a few greasy pizza boxes, an air mattress, and a small pile of toys. Earlier in the day, as we were helping move a few boxes, it struck me that this was not just a move a few blocks away or a move up two flights of stairs. Those were the other times, this was this time. And this time was an actual we-won’t-be-seeing-each-other-for-lunch-every-day kind of move. Tears are the most natural of responses.
Dave, Maria, and Zay. It has been an incredible four years. We do not know what California is like without you guys here, and while we are not excited to find out, we are excited about the wheres, whys, and hows of the next season of life God has called you to. We are excited for the community you are moving to, for the dreams you have about vocation and career, the amount of love and care you will receive from your finally-close-enough-to-drive-to family, and the steps of faith you take as you follow God’s leading in your lives. You are a blessing, and this has been a gift of four years.