Sunday, July 30, 2006

After a long hiatus

I've been a bum the last month and a half, I know it. So much has happened, too. But, it's water under the bridge, and now's the time for another burst (hopefully habit-forming as well) of entries into this crucial yet often-times overlooked portion of my life. .... And here it goes.

My time out here in sunny california is drawing to an end, with just a little less than 3 full weeks of work left to do. I can't believe so much time has already passed, but at the same time I'm grateful that the end is in sight. I'm feeling trunky again, like on my mission, and for some of the same reasons. While out here I basically restrict myself from anything that can only be done on weekdays from 8am-10pm and Saturdays from 8am to 4pm, which includes basically everything. I haven't been able to watch TV (which I haven't done basically since April), I haven't been able to spend much time on the phone due to work hours and unavoidable and annoying time zone changes, I haven't been able to see old friends or family, I'm with the same guys all day, week, month, and summer long, and we've all developed our own lingo, inside jokes, and mutually-beneficial habits. Much like a mission, but not as "severe". (Not that a mission's bad, on the contrary!) I'm excited to be able to spend time with my family and just chill on the couch, or on the lake, or watch TV or something like that.

The flip side of the coin has already been partly expressed. Allow me to repeat - you may recall: I'm with the same guys all day, week, month, and summer long, and we've all developed our own lingo, inside jokes, and mutually-beneficial habits. That's one thing that's gonna be really hard to part with. I've become such great friends with such great guys that the sudden departure and separation is already causing some heartache, and I'm still 20 days away!! I've celebrated with these guys, I've laughed so hard that I couldn't breathe with these guys, I've been so sad that I've almost (maybe once...maybe...) cried with these guys, we've avoided arrests together, we've done service together...we've been through a lot. And we know each other personally and have close relationships with each one.

I've wondered why life takes turns like this, and seems to just play with your emotions. I know that it isn't, because we're all growing together and preparing ourselves to be more functional adults in society, but still - I'm part of a group of over a dozen guys that would do anything for the other, but we're only together for these 4 months, then we all part our different ways, some forever. In the mission we were with our companions and best friends for 2 YEARS and left the field and had to recuperate from the sudden yank from the steady flow of our lives into the status quo lifestyle of a typical young adult. I'm not anticipating any recuperation or emotional trauma, but I am saddened by the foreknowledge of friendships lost paths separated. It's gonna be a mini trial, but I know it will be good for me (and us).

This predicament reminds me of a poem that I wrote last year when a friendship of 4 young adults was being broken up by a mission, by an engagement, and a break-up. I was part of the breakup...but that's not important now. Either way, I remember sitting on my couch upset and angry at life and why our awesome friendship had to change, and I just started writing. I don't know what to title it, so I just named it Continue. Here it is:

Anthony Gardner

When first they meet, the best of friends,
Each listens, helps, and shares;
They feel a special union made:
They know each other cares.

They enjoy each other’s friendship,
Learn their plans, their hopes and dreams,
And a special tie unites them:
An inseparable team.

They pass through times of gain and loss;
Their relationship fares well.
They never want their bonds to fade,
But only time will tell.

Like falling snow in winter’s wake
Time silently transforms
The plans and hopes of these best friends;
In each new paths are born.

New paths will lead to different ends
Not heretofore arranged,
Requiring that each best friend
Adjust and his route change.

With change there comes an unvoiced fear
Of pain and friendship lost,
And stinging views of future strife
May coat their words with frost.

Why do they change, the hopes and fears,
Of friends who’ll never part?
Of plans they’ve made for coming years;
What changes in the heart?

The friends may doubt and drift apart,
But one thing holds them close:
A common love and knowledge pure;
Their value cherished most:

Their trust in Christ, while on their knees,
Like glowing embers strong,
Won’t fade or flicker in the breeze
Of words or deeds gone wrong.

Such faith and hope in Christ’s great love,
And in His grand design,
Imparts to each a tranquil heart
That brings a peace of mind.

Their friendship is not happenstance;
This doesn’t come and go,
The Savior must had meant for them
To meet down here below.

So come what may in life’s long day,
They trust in heaven’s love,
And know their friendship, strong and pure,
Will continue up above.

The Spirit’s voice may lead us all
On paths unseen before,
But friendships such as this, in Christ,
Will live forevermore.

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