We will be moving this summer. I knew that this moving every three or four years would be a part of Army Life, but, like the Pollyanna that I can sometimes be, I mostly choose, even now, to paint it in beautiful colors. “Oh, how fun to see new places and meet new people every few years! This will be a great thing for our kids! They’ll be so good at making new friends! We’ll have so many fun experiences to share with friends and reflect back on!”
I’ve learned a lot about myself since moving here. I’ve learned that I’m very afraid of failure. I get overwhelmed in the details. If I can’t visualize each step of the project before I begin, it’s likely that I won’t even start. Somehow that connects with my tendency to withdraw into myself if I don’t know how something’s going to end. It’s sort of a self-protective measure, I suppose. My thought process goes along the lines of, “If I don’t invest too much, then it won’t hurt so bad if it doesn’t work out.”
I recently realized that this plays out in very vivid ways. When we first moved into our house here in New Jersey, I didn’t really decorate it. I slapped a couple of things on the walls, but not much. I didn’t spend much time organizing my kitchen. I figured that there really wasn’ t much of a point. After all, it was all going to get packed back into boxes in two years and have to be reorganized in a whole different kitchen anyway.
We found a great church, but it took us several months to work up to regular attendance. We joined a small group and that helped. Still, though, it was so hard for me to invest in friendships when I knew I’d have to leave them all behind. I didn’t want to open up. I didn’t want to put myself in a situation that I knew would bring heartbreak.
It’s really a reflection of a bigger problem. Can I live in the “now”? Can I let go of the future, even just for a few moments? Just long enough to laugh with a friend? What about an even longer time and allow her to fill the very real need I have for a close girlfriend?
Really, though? It’s even bigger than that. It’s about faith.
The truth is that, while the negatives loom large, the Army Life is what God has called us to do. He has promised to take care of us. I believe that promise includes friendships. Do I really believe that God will do what He says He’ll do? Maybe my Pollyanna stance is less about being naive, and more about choosing not to worry about things that I can’t change. We chose this lifestyle for lots of wonderful reasons and we take the bad with the good.
I stumbled on a quote today that, if I’m honest, expresses how I really feel:
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” –A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)
I’m very, very
lucky blessed, indeed. Goodbye will be hard, but only because the relationships are precious. Precious and strong enough, I think, to weather time and distance. That’s why God made phones and cars and airplanes and Facebook and Skype.
So my new outlook means that I’ll grab the fun where I can get it. I’ll invest in relationships while I can, make them strong while I’m near to these amazing people who God has brought into our lives. I’m purposely making it hard to say goodbye, because that means we’ve created something wonderful.