Last night I reopened our “Fishbowl Questions” for our student ministry, which is the chance they have to ask anything they want about the Bible, Christianity, Church History, etc. and I try to answer their question as best I can. One I got last night I won’t be answering on a Wednesday night, but felt like I should answer it on here anyway.
The question was “How do you respond when you best friend is moving?”
Sadly, relocation and job transfers and moving are all too common these days. Very rarely do people plant roots in one place for 15 or 20 years, but instead 3-7 is looking more like the norm.
Losing a good friend to a move is never easy, and the hurt that such a loss creates should never be understated or blown off as “being emotional.” God created us to live in community, and God created us with a desire for companionship from other people. In short, God created us to desire and want friends. So when we lose one to a move, or worse to death, there is a hole left in our hearts. That’s perfectly normal and OK to feel hurt, sad, or down over something like that. You’re simply doing what God wired you to do.
For the believer, there is never goodbye. It’s just “see you later!” because we trust in the hope of the Resurrection, where we will live forever in community with all those who are identified in Christ. That means you’ll get to see your friends again, and I have no doubt that in heaven and later on the redeemed earth, the fellowship and company between friends will be even more amazing than it is now. I look forward to running with Mark again, lifting weights with Jason again, and talking with my friends long dead (Luther, Calvin, CS Lewis, etc.).
Here’s _ tips in dealing with this, they come from both personal experience and from seeing others go through similar circumstances:
1) Allow yourself time to be down about it, but don’t dwell on it – Grieving is normal and natural, and you should have adequate time to weep and cry over it. But this shouldn’t consume you, it should only be for a time.
2) Take comfort in the fact that your separation is only temporary – You’ll see each other again! If not here, then in heaven. And how awesome is that!
3) Keep in contact – Think of how much God has allowed us to communicate with one another. What once took weeks in letter writing can now be accomplished immediately through e-mail. And think about the phone, texting, Facebook, and all these other ways we can communicate with each other. Use them! Take advantage of the many ways you have to keep up with each other. We use video chat with our dear friends, and Carrie and I use that when one of us has to be out of town.
4) Take this as a time to make new friends, particularly friends you can be intentional about sharing Christ with – Self-explanatory here
5) Keep praying for them, and send each other quick notes/texts of encouragement
6) Don’t isolate yourself because your “best friend” is leaving. This can be extremely dangerous, and very unhealthy. If the period of grief lasts a really long time, it can actually be harmful. If you hold on unnecessarily to a friendship separated by great distance, then you can become co-dependent on that person. Healthy friendships have other friendships. Outside of marriage, you should not have one single solitary person you spend all your time with, pour your heart out to, etc. It’s just not healthy.
I hope these are of some help, here’s a verse from a song that is fitting as well for goodbyes.
We meet to part, but part to meet
When earthly labors are complete
To join in yet more blest employ
In an eternal world of joy