When You’re the One Who Stays: An Honest Letter to My Long-Distance Friends

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.” – Elizabeth Foley

Hey, friend. It’s been far too long. ♥

Long-distance friendships are truly the worst. I think we’ve both told ourselves the same little things to make ourselves feel better – like “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” and “It’s never long distance between friends” – but the truth is that it completely sucks. Living in a college town has made me even more aware of how much it sucks. I hated being the one who left my group of people in Shawnee after I graduated, but in a way, it’s even worse to be the one who stays while everyone around you leaves. Since I moved here three years ago, countless friends have moved away for all kinds of wonderful reasons – seminary, new jobs, grad school, church-planting in Europe, so many kinds of growth in new directions. But even when it’s for a good reason, it’s never easy. Now more than ever, I am painfully aware of how much I miss you.

I miss being able to spontaneously call you up and hang out. It used to be so easy. Those quickly-planned brunches or afternoon road trips were so much more important than I realized at the time. I love that you were always within five minutes of coming over. Even though, when you come over, all we did was sit on the couch and half-watch a movie while our husbands argued about which animal would be more difficult to arm wrestle.

I miss sharing the boring stuff with you. Remember when we could sit and talk about nothing and it didn’t feel like wasted time? Now, I feel the need to cram in all of the “big” things that have happened since we saw each other, and I want to hear all of your “big” things too…but weirdly, it almost makes me feel left out. Sometimes I feel a little behind since I get your updates all at once. It’s not that we didn’t share the big stuff before, but I miss having the luxury of sharing things as they happened instead of months later.

I miss your kids. It took me a long time after Daniel and I got married to even be a little okay with the idea of having my own kids. And your kids were a HUGE part of my heart change. Do you realize that? In the midst of panicking over having kids, I fell in love with yours, and they will forever carry a piece of my heart. I will never not love them. Thank you for giving me the privilege of loving them.

I miss being around people I don’t have to ‘entertain.’ Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE making friends and inviting new people into my tribe. As followers of Jesus, that’s our every-day mission. But there is something so profoundly awesome about spending time with friends who melted into the deepest layer of your comfort zone a long time ago. Friends who you don’t clean your house for. Friends who you don’t have to offer something to drink because they’re already digging through your cabinets. Friends who just get you.

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Sometimes though, my brain stops just missing you and starts worrying. I worry that we won’t see each other for a year (or longer). I worry that you’ll find a better friend than me. I worry that we’ll stop having things in common and forget how to be friends with each other. I worry that we’ll get too busy and slowly lose touch over time.

I try not to minimize those worries, because…I think they’re normal. I think every person has had one of those fears at least once. But honestly? Those fears seem silly when I remember that I have someone to miss. I’m thankful that I’m able to miss cups of heavily sugared coffee with you, dreadful Insanity workouts with you, silly study sessions in the car with you, ridiculously competitive game nights with you, wasting hours of time on Pinterest with you, and late night life conversations with you. How incredibly lovely it is to love someone enough to miss them when they aren’t around.

I know we’ll stay friends. We have the kind of friendship that isn’t threatened by distance or time; I know this. We might have to go years without seeing each other, but when we DO see each other, we’ll go right back to where we left off the last time. We’ll watch each other grow and learn from a distance, through text messages and Facebook updates and the occasional phone call – but we’ll live in each other’s hearts, no matter how far away we may move. We’ve shared too much life with each other already.

I hate that we live apart. But I love you with all my heart, nonetheless.

XOXO – Laura

One thought on “When You’re the One Who Stays: An Honest Letter to My Long-Distance Friends

  1. Mignonne Tadlock says:

    Yes, Laura, I understand about leaving friends or them leaving us. I suppose Papa and I have friends planted in numerous places. We so much would like to see themi OUR huse in OUR town. However, for most that will never happen. So we think of/pray for them and call occasionally. Perhaps you and Daniel fall inot that catgory somewhat. THANK YOU for coming by when you are in town and not being in a hurry. We would love to take you to the new restuarant in town….33 Cafe and Steak House…..about 5 blocks by car and two if you walk. [That’s a neat thing about a small town. We love being able to be almost anywhere in 5 minutes!!] We love singing in the choir with your Mom as the superior, fantastic director. We were thrilled to have Sid and Patty here and be able to be with them when your Dad gave them “The Tour” of the elementary school. Love you a bunch.

    Like

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