I am embarrassingly wealthy when it comes to friends.

That thought makes me smile.

It is not always an easy way to live.  A life full of deep connections to other people is prone to being messy and painful and complicated.  But there is so much richness to my life right now that I want to stay awake all night with the wonder of it.

I remember being desperately lonely in sixth grade or so and praying for a friend.

And God provided.  Throughout high school, I had not only my siblings but core groups of friends in youth group and quizzing, from camp, from online.  In college I had the Greek class and C1 and Dag.  In China I had my team and the brothers and sisters on campus.

And now.

It dizzies me to reflect on what my life is right now.  The variety of my friends is clear evidence to me that it's never been about me choosing them.  We were chosen for each other.  There are coworkers and three year olds and parents.  Students and teachers, organists and unemployed, Americans and Saudi Arabians and I am devastated, in a very positive way, at the glorious goodness of it.  And at the thought if life together now, in a fallen world can be so good -- if there is so much good growing right alongside all the awful and inexplicable and unimaginable --

I know that I cannot even begin to imagine the goodness to come in a world fully restored to shalom.

As I reflect on the ways that we try to stay in touch, separated as we are by oceans and time zones and jobs and current roles in life, I rejoice all the more at the unbreakable bonds that connect Christians as family.  If all I had was this one life, the fourscore years (or five score, if my life expectancy lives up to my great gram's...) I don't know how I could bear to say goodbyes ever.

Every time that I hear Passenger's song Shape of Love, I think about goodbyes and operating with limited time, for now.  My natural inclination is to echo their sentiment:

I don't ever
Want the rain to stop
I don't ever
Want to leave this coffee shop
I don't ever want the clouds to part...
I don't ever
Want the sun to shine
I don't ever want to leave this one behind
I don't ever
Want the summertime to come
'cause the shape of love's the only shape
that fits my heart.

I thought about it standing on Kirkwood at midnight in a tight circle of friends, how much saying goodbyes just hurts.  The pain stuns me -- but the fact that I ever got to know my friends, that our short lives on this vast planet ever intersected at all stuns me too.

Still, goodbyes feel existentially wrong.  In a lot of ways, from my own current viewpoint, they make no sense at all.  I'm happy here.  Why would I leave?

But in a larger perspective -- one that looks forward with sure hope to the coming kingdom, to live that won't end -- it is okay.  The sadness of goodbyes is tempered by the assurance that this, even this terrible heart-wrenching pain, is only momentary and there is joy set before us that we cannot yet imagine, but that we can faithfully live towards.

So right now?  I'm reveling in the goodness of the friendships I have here and now, and striving to be mindful that this goodness is only a taste of what is to come.  The richness of the friendships I enjoy is designed to point me to the Giver and Ordainer of all friendships.



  1. I also understand that goodbyes are painful, but the interesting thought that someone pointed out to me is that there is no such thing as a goodbye. It is always a see you later! Especially as Christians, we will see our fellows in heaven even if we do not have the chance to see them on Earth. The great thing about see ya later's is that when you do have the chance to catch back up with them, there are lots of good stories and experiences to share, you can see how people have developed throughout their time away.


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