Summertime always brings with it a number of emotions and expectations. In Zionsville, it brought with it busyness, travel, fun, tons of youth time, and travel back to PA to see family and friends. Family as always been a more loose definition, not just by blood relation or housing, but certainly through depth of relationship. In Pasadena, it’s chaos, overwhelming heat, airports, intensives, new faces, and too many papers. But those trips back home – those have always been the bread and butter to summer (maybe I should call it corned cob and butter)?
So I suppose when I moved out to LA, the first concern I had was how in the world I was going to recharge, and how would I find a present family when blood family and all pre-existing family were at least 2000 miles away. I was afraid to articulate it; afraid to hurt others in saying the inevitable, “I don’t know how to do this family thing that far away with this many people.” But it was a deep indwelling in the pit of my heart – a fear of loss amidst the joy of call. I suppose that’s what this whole Christian life is about, in some sense at least. I mean, call isn’t always joyous – let’s put that one straight out there, folks.
As I sensed the strange and eerie loss of family out in the East Coast and Midwest, life on the West Coast felt natural (well, as natural as it can in the land o’ saline boobs). Granted defining community was a challenge, I felt (and still often do) like junior high was being re-lived daily, schedules had no semblance of normalcy, and school felt like far less of a challenge than I anticipated. Yet – I was meeting people left and right. People were calling me “popular” (grr, don’t get me started), and I seriously knew more people than not by the 3rd quarter. It was almost ridiculous, to be honest. And yet, because of my relational definition of family, the farce of having one won out daily.
So last summer, I knew “everyone,” had lots of school “time” off, and travelled to see so much of my family. It was amazing – even while crazy and financially stressful. When the new school year kicked off, it seemed as though no control could be had, but I consistently had people in my life, new and old. I had moved, I was living with people I loved, and I was surrounded by people who challenged me, encouraged me, and loved me.
It’s not to say that they’re absent. Nor is it a claim that I don’t want life the way it is. But a part of me is sick right now – emotionally and spiritually. Friends at Fuller are graduating, moving on, and with that comes change for them. They are wrestling with this next move into professionalism, while I am stuck in the system that I sometimes hate. I am wrestling with these grand questions about a church I sometimes cannot stand and they just aren’t in the same place. They are willing to support, but I feel more and more as a burden than I do as peer. And in that, I wonder how good of a friend I am to them. I fear they’re afraid to talk too much about their personal changes because I’m not there, or don’t want to hurt slash upset me. So maybe I’ve now used these intensives to pull away – or maybe they have themselves. Or maybe its just the course of all of these transitions and the lack of control.
Either way, it does hurt. It feels like that family that was visiting on Thursday nights, Friday nights, Saturday nights, is slowing tearing away from me like a damn band-aid. The friend to visit with on campus is no more sitting in the garth, but soon will be sitting in an apartment working all day. I seem to be mourning in the similar way I did moving across the country, but yet no one has moved… yet. At least not in a tangible, mailing address sort of a way.
Family… I miss you. All of you. Everywhere.
::::::::the last goodbye::::::::….::::….k.s. rhoads….::::..