Since moving to Lansing in January of 1999 I have noticed a familiar trend. I meet people either at work or church or in the community and we quickly bond. Typically it is with someone whom I didn't anticipate becoming friends but I end up enjoying their company. We begin to hang out and then about a year or two go by and my new friend has a job opportunity in another town. So I say goodbye, get a little discouraged that my friend is moving on and wish that I was the one moving instead. Then after a brief time a new friend comes along and fills the vacuum that was left by their absence. I conservatively estimate this process to have repeated itself 10 times in my brief time in Lansing.
Quite frankly it is getting harder and harder to be the person left behind as others move on to other cities and new jobs. However, I have learned several valuable lessons from this process.
- I make friends fairly easily and with a broad range of people. This is truly a blessing because I have noticed others are not able to develop relationships so quickly.
- Along with number one, I never know who my next friend will be. My friends have included liberals, conservatives, men, women, extroverts, introverts, blacks, whites, Christians, non-Christians and I have even been friends with an Oakland Raiders fan.
- Each time I lose a friend, God has been faithful to provide new friendships. For this I am very thankful. I just have to be patient.
- I value the friends that I still have in Lansing a lot of more because I know how tenuous our time together is.
- True friendships transcend geographic boundaries. I now have friends in about a third of the fifty states. This provides me great opportunities to travel. Thank God cell phones have free long distance.
- I would not have as many friendships if my other friends had not moved away. I would have been comfortable with my old friends and missed out on getting to know a lot of really cool, interesting people.
- It now takes me a little longer to open up to people because I fear I might have to say goodbye. But each time I do invest in others, I don't regret it even when they leave.