Like a ghost, you’ve been haunting all these dusty old roads.

One of my friends is moving to the other side of the country, and I have not taken this news very well. When she told me, I had to get off the phone, because I didn’t want to sound unsupportive, and I knew that I would say something selfish and self-centered if I didn’t stop talking right then. When we talked a little bit later that afternoon, she said, “Are you still feeling a little sick?” I lied and said yes, instead of telling the truth: we hung up the phone and I cried my eyes out, which was why I still sounded a little congested. Perhaps it would have been better to tell the truth. I just hate it when the truth is so self-centered.

She and I have talked about abandonment issues before, and how they can cause people to lash out, or to take things personally that don’t have much to do with them at all. And this whole thing with her has made me realize that I have some abandonment issues, too. Mine aren’t as deep-seeded as some people’s, but they are still there: the former best friend I used to talk so much about, all the brouhaha with Mike’s parents, my dad. Those are all different sorts of leaving – there’s a big difference between outright rejection and pancreatic cancer. But all of it together has all made it harder for me to invest in people, harder for me to trust. I have been working hard at my new school to build friendships and hang out with people, but, at the same time, I don’t have a lot of expectations that those relationships can be very deep. (I am open to being proven wrong. I think.)

Part of this is my insecurities about myself and the choices I have made. I live here, 25 minutes from the town in which I was born, in the state where I have always lived. I haven’t taken a lot of risks in my own life. I love this state, and I love my life, but I wonder sometimes if Mike and I shouldn’t have been a little bit more bold, taken a few more chances. Then we could be the ones moving across the country for some grand adventure. It’s been hard, too, because a lot of women at work have recently had children, are currently pregnant, or are trying to start families. I have still not succumbed to baby fever, but I feel strange telling people that our 8th anniversary will be this summer, and, no, we don’t have kids. In my head, I know that, if we were actually being forced to tally the past 8 years, we would have a great amount of personal growth to show for them. But I also see people look at us a little bit askew when I say how long we have been married without “validating” our marriage with offspring, and sometimes I buy into that.

If it comes right down to it, I can’t understand someone wanting to leave because I want to stay. I want to stay in this state where my family is, where all my childhood memories are. I admire people with a heart for foreign missions, but I am not one of them, because my heart is here, and if I can help anyone, I think it’s here. The day she told me she was going to move, after I had stopped crying, I said to Mike, “I just don’t understand how God could call people away from their friends and family,” and he said, “Um, what about the Great Commission?” Um. Point taken. Although, honestly, I still think that here is where I am supposed to be. Surely I can be excused for wishing my friends and family were supposed to be here, too.

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