“Any idea when he’s moving?”

My church coworker and friend, Garth, thought I knew the answer to the question. He actually thought I was aware of the move. He’d thought Henry had told me he was moving away.

I barely contained my emotions as I responded back, “What?”

It was perhaps more forceful than warranted.

But perhaps not.

~ ~ ~

“One of the posts was about Father’s Day,” Henry responded. “It was pretty good.”

“Oh, yeah,” I responded with a broad smile. “I read that one, too.”

I turned around for a moment. Looks like I wouldn’t be telling Henry my identity on the blog after all.

“Actually . . . ”

Changed my mind.

Henry’s eyes grew to the second widest I had ever seen them. He wasn’t shocked I was same-sex attracted; he’d heard more than his fair share of my sexual past.

His shock was more that I had managed to share Your Other Brothers without giving my part away. I’d held a pretty convincing poker face, apparently.

“See, NOW I appreciate your post about Father’s Day even more,” Henry responded. “I feel like I could go back and read your posts and appreciate them. Like, I could actually connect with them because I know you.”

~ ~ ~

Would have been nice to know you’re officially moving, Henry. Would have been nice to have heard it from you. I would have appreciated not hearing it from someone else.

Henry and I had connected really well — or, so I thought. He hadn’t told me he was moving before it became public knowledge.

Did Henry believe we had actually connected? Or was he already preparing for the distance by pushing me away?

I’d sat at my desk, Henry happily working away behind me. The guy was literally three feet from me.

Three. Freaking. Feet.

How difficult would it have been to turn around and say, “Hey, I’m moving! I wanted you to know because I care about you! Let’s still be friends! By the way, your hair looks nice today!”

I could have turned around myself and asked him about it. The three freaking feet goes both ways.

Yet, I felt it was his responsibility to tell me. He is the one moving. He should be the one to approach me about it.

I would have continued stewing about it; however, I lost heart. I was suddenly hit with the fact that Henry would no longer be there to hang out during the week. No more talks about the Bible or current events. No more catching up about the weekend on Monday morning. And no more support when life gets us down.

Instead of anger, sadness took over. I missed my friend. And I was sad, considering that he might not miss me back.

Have you experienced the loss of a new or dear friend moving away? Did the friendship survive the geographic distance? How did you move forward either way?

About the Author

  • actually it happens to me all the time. Working with YWAM someone is bound to move or you are. Every 3 to 6 months the missionary base you are stationed at takes almost a complete rotation of people so you get pretty attached to the people who stay when you also happen to stay for a few years. I’ve moved, my friends have moved. Some of those relationships have survived others havent. Some its those relationships where we barely ever talk but when we do it’s like no time has passed. It used to depress me a lot. It’s still sad at times but God gave me a new way of seeing it. People are in our lives for a season many times and we have to learn to not only enjoy them in that season but also bless them while we have the chance. It may not be that they are in our lives for a specific season but that we are in theirs

  • Thank you for sharing your story, fellow Dean! I am with you- my long distance friendships tend to have the “embers stoked” by me. However, I’ve learned to understand that as part of my personality. I tend to want to catch up more than others might want to. Yet I have friends that actually reach out to me than I sometimes reach out to them. I’ve learned I’m not always in the same position in every relationship.
    I agree with you though- in some ways, a friendship is always permanent. There might be breaks in connecting with one another, but the care for each other can still remain.

  • Thanks for sharing this. As one who worked in a short-term missions agency, we had a big turnover of people every 3 months…and I worked in the Headquarters. It did not give much time to develop friendships other than very casual contact. Sometimes I would keep in touch with people, but often, after they left, I would never hear from them or seem them again. Yeah, it hurt at times, but I had to see this as an opportunity God had given me to be in their lives for a brief, fleeting moment, and I could be an encouragement and blessing to them, however short that time was. The years have passed by quickly since those days (the organization has closed their doors), and many have died but I know I will see them again in heaven and that encourages me when I wonder whatever happened to them. In the meantime. God has given others over the years to bless and be good too…even though many have, themselves, died. I feel like I am back to square one sometimes, but God knows and He has promised to be a constant in the midst of a fast changing world. But yeah…I wish it wasn’t so hard…
    I am reminded of that verse, “Let us do good to all men, especially those who are of the household of faith.” God gives those opportunities…

  • I was deeply damaged by the sudden death of my best friend (suicide). Since then, I have found it hard to make new friends, and everytime I do, they have to move out of state or I never see them again. It is all so depressing at times.

  • Ugh. This is too real for me. And maybe it hits home because I’ve moved several times. Unfortunately, I have been on both sides of this conversation. People have left without much conversation, and I have left at least a few friends without much notice / time to say goodbye.
    But, there are a handful of people from each place, each season that have stood the test of time. One friend, who I worked with at camp two summers during college, we talk almost monthly still. Six years going. When I stop to think on this…. it really doesn’t make sense except God. Thank you for sharing Dean.

  • Ouch. That had to hurt. You shouldn’t take it personally though, you never know why they didn’t tell you. The fact they didn’t tell you is more about them, than you.
    I think we can all relate to the heart ache of losing a friend, moving away or drifting apart. Keep your chin up, God will provide what you need.

    • I appreciate the thoughts, Roger! I definitely know there was no malicious intent or anything with Henry not telling me. Thank you ro your encouragement- I know God will continue to provide the relationships I need each and every day.

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