In case you don't feel like clicking the link, it's a series entitled "Lies MKs Believe" by Michele Phoenix. This particular post is called "Everybody Always Leaves" and addresses the transiency of relationships for TCKs such as myself. I could take a long time to explain this, but a lot of you who read my blog probably already understand. If you move a lot, live in a culture that's not "your own" for most of your life, and then move some more, stuff happens to your relationships. If that doesn't make sense to you, leave me a comment with a question. Or read the article I linked to that I am now trying to summarize.
The article finishes with this truth, "the benefits of relationship are worth the risk of loss." And I believe that. I really do. I pour myself into people. I love. I fight distance. My prayers are aimed at targets sprinkled the world over.
But I still see relationships as having an expiration date.
I think part of the problem is that 95% (disclaimer: that's a random percentage that just feels true) of the people I love the most are TCKs like me, or other people who live transient lives.
When one of my friends marveled a little at the nonchalant way I treat the spans of time between seeing my family I looked at her and thought, "What did you think I thought would happen? What do you think two-year-old Kathryn thought when the teens she looked up to graduated high school, packed their bags, and left for America?" I just knew. I've always known. One day that would be me. And now it is.
(Don't read this wrong. I love my parents. They are fantastic. I'm so proud of them for where they are and what they do. They talk to me all the time. I wouldn't change one second of life the way we have it. Dear Mom, Dad, and Hannah, you are the greatest.)
One of my best friends in high school barely saw her family three or four times a year, between boarding school and working at camp in the summer. We were sixteen. How could I not have the strength to leave people after watching her be so brave? How could I ever hope to survive if I didn't suit up and cope?
I love you. Thank you for doing life with me, with your whole hearts.
Then we'll only have Skype and 2am phone calls and the craziest alumni network you can possibly imagine (you can't even imagine.) We'll have visits and snatches and new friends in new places who don't always understand right away why we are rushing to squeeze the marrow out of life.
So no, I don't see distance as the death of all my relationships. I do know that it breaks some. There are friends I don't have anymore. There are new friends that I have now. I do know that when you do life together, side by side everyday, eeking it out together on days when you just want basketball practice to be over, walking over high hills, laughing and crying over life, it makes a difference.
So here are my questions, because sadly this isn't a post full of answers. This is a big issue in my life and right now I'm looking for clarity. I may be looking for clarity in this area for my entire life.
Isn't that not a lie? As in: doesn't everybody always leave? Isn't there always a move, a falling-out, a new schedule, and that greatest separator of all, death? I still think that these shouldn't keep us from loving, but aren't they still reality?
Next question, how do we love each other well when we're all protecting ourselves? I can see you friends. I can see me too. Our walls are going up, because it hurts. We've been apart over a year and it's stretching thin. I don't even need to phrase this as a question: we all know it hurts to keep caring and investing. So what do we do? When do we give in to other people's self-protection and let them go? Sure that would hurt, but isn't that what their self-protection implies they expect? Would giving up be weakness or wisdom? Cruelty or kindness? When is it ok to build our own? Is it ever? I talked about this a little a few weeks ago. I just want to expand. And I think the answer is maybe a little obvious, but that doesn't mean the questions don't toss in my head.
I know this isn't a blog where people always leave a lot of comments, but I'd appreciate a little coming together today. So leave me a comment if you have a thought. You can leave your name if you'd like (I'd like that but you don't have to.)