Monday, March 1, 2010

Blessed Be The Ties That Bind (31/90)

The amount that I miss my friends is immeasurable. I’ve been looking at their pictures, watching their status updates (or hoping for them). And I miss them more.

I’m dying to see them in the flesh. I cannot wait to tackle them with a hug. I need to hear them laugh and watch their eyes light up as they smile. I need these things, tangible things.

It’s been just shy of two years since I left.  But only four months since I’ve last seen them. They are different. We are different. But we don’t talk much about that. We haven’t kept up the way we all assumed we would. Or maybe we didn’t assume that at all. Maybe I’d just hoped.

We move in and out of each other’s lives the way that long-distance friends do. A phone call every now and then, a text just to say, “I’m thinking of you, and I love you” a message on Facebook to share a funny story.  It is all of these small things that I all of the sudden feel the need to hold on to. I’m finding myself saving them, and journaling them, fearful that they’ll slip away too soon and leave me longing.

These things remind me of the bonds that we’ve made over the years, now weakened by distance and time.

But there are things I am not saying. Because they are hard. And because I am scared. Yet, at the same time, I’m ready.  Just a little more ready than I was yesterday, and the day before, which is enough for now.

There are five of them that I keep up with now. Or seven if I’m being all-inclusive. But we’re really not close anymore, not the five, or seven of us. Not even the three girls that I still think of as sisters.

Things have changed. We are changing.

We met in church, all of us. We were all the leadership of the youth group in a large, well-known church. A mega-church, as they call it. We spent more time with each other than anyone else. All day on Sundays, Thursday nights, Saturdays, Tuesdays. We were a family, in every sense of the word.

And unfortunately, we were broken together in that church. On numerous occasions, in ways that I am not quite ready to explain. I’m not even sure that I could explain, or that it would make sense to anyone outside of us.

Up until the last break, we survived. We endured together. As painful as some of those times were, there are sweet memories that I think back to on days like today when I miss them, when I miss us.

We were raw, exposed and vulnerable with each other, which is both incredibly powerful and dangerous.

I remember a time that one of those girls, who had by that time become like a sister, came looking for me in the back of that church that seats 4,500 people, for no reason. She sat down beside me, slipped her arm around me, her hand resting on my shoulder and whispered in my ear “You’re not alone, Tiff. You’re not alone” And then, she stayed there beside me, with her arm tight around me until I believed it.

We all camped out in the hospital room after one of us underwent emergency surgery. We’d stay late, way past visiting hours were over. We'd bring up grilled cheese sandwiches from the hospital cafeteria and sit there on the floor telling stories and laughing.

When we broke, we broke together. And when we healed, we healed together.

Up Until the last time.

We are not an us anymore. We will never be a family again. Some of us have come together again, though. In much less powerful, safer ways. But we slip into familiarity from time to time.

On my last night in town, just four months ago, a few of us were sitting around talking.  After several hours had passed and we’d gotten reacquainted the walls began to fall.

And still, there are things I am not saying. Because they are too hard. Because I am too scared.

But one thing became clear, some of us were broken still while some of us were healing. Each of us on our own. 


Brad King said...

Really powerful stuff here Tiff.

Tiffany Holbert said...

Thank you! Thanks for reading.

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