As an easy to read what-you-see-is-what-you-get girl I squirmed as a close friend headed toward our front door. I hadn’t told her or even hinted at the possibility we might move again; this time states away.
A soft afternoon glow reflected the 1970’s orange brown cabinet stain on her sweet face. My husband and I agreed to keep the potential move between family and I felt caught between loyalty and authenticity. How could I keep this precious trusted friend on the sidelines?
We all have sideline friends, those people we enjoy spending time with but withhold the tender parts of our hearts; she is not a sideliner.
When we moved back to California she appeared at the charter home school orientation, then I noticed her at church and friendship grew through shoulder-to-shoulder work to educate our kids. Our families were friends, part of the web of few trusted with the side of life you’d like to hide, the kind of friend it’s okay to cry in front of because the day was challenging.
Her gracious attitude set an example for my direct demeanor, her ability to organize anything later gave me confidence to organize a woman’s ministry and because of our experiences I finally understand the power of working as a team. I couldn’t bench a friend so dear and influential but I didn’t know where to begin. Fortunately, in that moment, my heart and mouth connected and took over.
I tried to smile through my words but that’s hard to do while attempting to hold back tears.
“I need to tell you something.”
Her sincere eyes anchored me, “We might be moving.” Naturally, with the many moves we’ve made that’s not a big surprise. “Pretty far away, “ I finished with the details.
“I never thought you would stay. It seemed like this was just an in-between,” her words caught me of guard and offered an odd comfort. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself otherwise this always felt like a stop along the way.
Saying goodbye that afternoon the first sting of reality hit. There’s something to living the daily should-to-shoulder, something no amount of Facetime can replace and the women God used to influence and shape me would be but a phone call away, but sometimes a phone call is too far. Did God really want us to move?
As we began to tell friends the questions came…so many questions.