One of my closest friends is moving 3 hours away. That stinks. The more I think of our past, the worse it becomes. We met as freshmen in high school, on the football team. I think I can safely say that football had a great impact in shaping both of our lives. We learned to be tough. We learned to be teammates. We learned to challenge each other. We learned to look out for each other. We learned to lean on each other (at least I did, he might be too tough to need someone to lean on. That’s a sad thought.).
We were on the wresting team together. We were workout partners, both on the wrestling mat and in the weight room. We were close to the same size and close to the same strength. It was very convenient. I’ve worked the hardest in my whole life with him by my side, watching and encouraging. We’ve shared the exhilaration of achievement and the agony of defeat. I even talked him onto the track team one spring.
I was a friend to his brother, a son to his mother and a part of the family to his father. I was there for his mom to make us molasses cookies. I was there overnight, sleeping in a cot or on the floor, playing video games and reading comics. I was there as part of large groups, playing card games with him and his brother and their friends.
We explored the lake in a paddle boat. We played Uno at camp and tented out on its lawn. He drove me to school in the mornings and took sharp turns in his old truck and almost emptied my bladder with the old lap belt.
I was there when he aspirated honey (actually I was the causing factor…I can at least play innocent and noble, can’t I?). I was there when his house burned down and one of the few things that survived was his football that I took home because he left it at the field we were playing in while the tragedy occurred. I was called out of work the day his brother was declared missing, and I was there for him when his brother was found to have committed suicide. I was at the funeral. Very broken up.
It seems we were almost constant companions during college. We lived together, exercised together, relaxed between classes together, played games every Friday night together. After our year lease in an apartment near the University, he moved into my mom’s house. Later, when his parents left him their house, I moved there with him.
I was his best man when he was married. I am the godfather of his firstborn child. He overcame his fear of heights to hang balloons for my wedding reception.
I am his friend.
The last few years have drawn us apart. I am a lot busier with my church and my wife; he is busy with his job and his family. I have found the joy I never realized before of living a life in God’s sweet embrace; he wants little or nothing to do with the entire subject.
Regardless of lifestyles, it is only schedules that truly keep us apart. Now on top of that it will be miles. While he is less than 2 miles away, we are barely victorious battling schedules to spend time together. Now the gulf will be practically infinite, excepting email and weekend visitations.
Fare thee well, brave warrior. As our partnership fades, others will come to fight by our sides.
A chapter in our life ends.