Monday, May 23, 2011

Kiss today goodbye

So another year at Gardner-Webb has come and gone. This one was particularly difficult for me; not only did I have to say goodbye to a number of good friends I had made in the three years I spent in the Div school, but I had to watch as some of my closest friends left for the 'real world'.

This transition was made more difficult as it was revealed that there was tension among myself and those good friends. I won't go into detail about that issue, but I will just say that perhaps the hardest part of this event was not being able to enjoy the company of those guys one last time as a group.

Anyway, here I sit, on Gardner-Webb's nearly empty campus, half-expecting everyone to come back next year and to simply pick up where we left off at the end of this semester. However, I know that isn't going to happen and that this next year will be anything but normal and routine. And that hurts a lot. So much more than I express in writing or otherwise. There are people who I just now found how awesome they are and how much time was lost in not getting to know them before and not enjoying their craziness-UNICORN!. There are others who intimidated me from our first encounter and struck me with how brilliant their thoughts, especially in the only class we had together-African American Literature (I was always impressed with their insight, especially as freshmen). One who immediately wrote me off and declared that I would not last more than a semester, only to become one of my best friends and a true means of support. There was a group that was formed based on an idea of support and prayer, both of which were found in that group-things I needed at that time and was unable to adequately provide for others.

This semester was particularly trying for one of my friends and so our friendship was strengthened as this person sought support and camaraderie from me. This friendship has been extremely important for me as well; I had always sought to have a better friendship with this person, but it had never seemed to be in the cards. It was so awesome to have a guy friend who I could talk to about life (granted I had another strong friendship, but there is just something about having another guy as a means of accountability and encouragement). My sincere hope is that this friendship continues beyond the typical college friendships and that we will continue to assist one another as much as we can-which I believe will be the case...or at least hope.

As I reflect on this, I can't help but think about those friendships that have lasted beyond graduation-they are few, but so powerful. Chris Farthing and Andy Tillery are some of the most awesome people I've ever know and I am so thankful for their friendship. Even though we don't see each other on a regular basis, those times when we do are so much greater because of the absence. It is a similar story with Emily Walker nee Dykstra; even though we didn't spend four years together at university, the two years we did were enough to secure a life-long friendship. I was recently privileged to see her again after five years-we picked up right where we left off and neither of us missed a beat. It was so amazing to be able to reconnect our friendship, even after so long.

I guess I am using this particular post as a means of processing through saying goodbye to a lot of dear friends, but also finding hope in the fact that it needn't be goodbye-more like see ya later. Also, this serves as a means of thanking all of the people who are my friends and have impacted my life. Ultimately, life continues, regardless of our desire for time to stand still; so while it is important to cherish those moments, it is also important that we not seek to live in the past. God has given us each day and so we should take joy in those moments.

Each of my friendships is special and unique, important to me. But I have been trying to keep my focus on God and not allow my happiness to alter based on the position in which I currently find myself. God is always constant and so in these moments, I know I can rely fully on Him and find peace there.

As I finish this, I am reminded of Isaiah 43:2, which says, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you." Even though friends come and go and new relationships are formed, God will never leave us and we find our strength and stability in Him.

Kairos-life-defining moments and friends,

David A. Bell

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One of the Sides of the Story

Often for those of us who are not as prolific in terms of blogging, it is in the moments of great emotion that inspires a blog post; e.g., an exciting event in our life, a time of loss, a feeling of overwhelming sadness or confusion. If I'm honest, the reason I am writing this right now is because I find myself in the final category-I am extremely sad.

One reason I am particularly sad is because of the fact that with the end of this semester, I will say goodbye to a group of people who I have come to know and love perhaps far greater than anyone else in my life (besides family). The class of 2011 comprises the freshmen class who came in when I was a senior-they are the last remaining connection that I have to Gardner-Webb undergraduate. Once they leave, I have no one to share stories and laugh with about the "old days". But more than that I genuinely don't want to even begin to think about life without these people-how can I wake up in the morning and go about life, knowing that I do not have their friendship to keep me going?

Another reason I am sad is the fact that I feel like there are people who have written me off and I have ruined the friendship we once had and that the person will never seek to be close friends again. Moreover, I fear that I have been (easily) replaced and that the person no longer looks to me to be their friend. I am so devastated by this and I feel so depressed that the person has no desire to reestablish the relationship, but has just written me off as a lost cause. I think I need to apologize to the person, an issue which was discussed in Sunday School (quite appropriately, I guess) and one point was to do in person-i was thought about texting the person about it, but stopped in my tracks and remembered what we discussed. So life is kind of crazy like that, yeah?

In addition, I am just tired and overwhelmed with the end of the semester. I am so tired I think I might explode on the next person who bothers me. This is not a good place to find yourself; however, I have no one to talk to about it because the friends I do have either don't care or don't know that something is literally eating away at me. Plus, I think some people know me and they know that I won't really talk about what's going on in my life and the few people who I can talk to about it, I have been unable to talk with them and I'm not sure as I will get an opportunity to converse with them. So yeah I am pretty frustrated right now (hence the blogging) and I am really tired of people and how I feel like I have to put on a happy face and pretend that everything is ok just because people don't want to see people sad.

In a conversation with a good friend earlier today (technically yesterday at this hour), she asked how I could be happy-go-lucky one minute and so forlorn the next. I explained how I felt I had to play that role; she told me that transparency and vulnerability were valid at points as well-a point with which I agreed. However, as I told her the cafeteria is not really the place for that (nor was Facebook....) and the issue dropped, with a clarity that there was no hatred just thankfulness for good friendship. Well later, I was with a bunch of my friends and so I tried the whole transparent, vulnerable thing-it went over like a lead balloon. The people there just ignored the pain I was in, or perhaps I am getting better at disguising my emotions. So it drove me deeper into my sorrow and I realized that these people could not handle what I was going through because they were also going through stuff themselves. It was a matter of group therapy for them and I just couldn't fall in line with that and so I found no healing. However, I am thankful that they seemed to find at least some comfort from the interactions tonight and that there may have been some growth in their own personal issues.

What do I seek to accomplish with this blog? Well, 1) find some resolution by getting it out-check. 2) process what is going on in my life-check. 3) get sympathy from people (haha)- 4. move on and be proactive in my relationship with the person in the third paragraph- 5. give it all over to God and let Him work in/through it-1/2 check. I am so thankful for all that I have, honestly, I just really need someone to listen to me without judgement and be a friend. C'est la vie-at least there will always be God.

Kairos-the moments that define and frustrate us,

David A. Bell