Focusing on positives, as I try and fail at not crying today. A dear friend very familiar with the coming and going of expat/ missionary/ international living once said, “we celebrate the gift of knowing someone, of their touch on our lives and their expanding our hearts, but bigger hearts also means it can hurt more when they leave.” Or something like that, she said it several years ago and I can’t find the exact quote. I have so much to celebrate in having known and done life with Janet and Dan Snyder – they welcomed us to Budapest just over 7 years ago.
Norbi and Dan have met for lunch on Wednesday, with others or just them, almost since then. Janet began our gals lunch time maybe 4 or 5 years ago. There have been New Year’s Eve game nights, Thanksgiving meals – both American and Canadian, and just so much shared wisdom, laughter and memories. My life has certainly been touched and my heart expanded. They’re wrapping up this chapter of their lives, Friday they move ‘home’ to Dan’s Canada. Janet and I have talked often recently of our coming new homes, of the excitement mixed with sadness. Janet is also a California girl who has also lived in Denver, and we’ve bonded over so many shared experiences and memories.
But outside of the fun and all the many shared meals, I want to celebrate their pouring of their experiences and wisdom into their friendship with us. It was never called ‘mentoring’, we were just friends. But I sort of suspect Norbi and I got much more out of the relationship. They’ve lived amazing lives, and having met and married much later in life, have no children of their own. I can’t begin to remember or list out all the things we’ve learned from them, but as I simply celebrate that knowing, as I strive to not cry, what jumps out the most is the importance of friendships, real connection, with people outside your age group, outside your obvious interests. What connects us to Dan and Janet is so much more than what might have separated, but on the surface our friendship was not expected.
Maybe in this tense time of divides in so many areas, a reminder of the importance of friendships with people beyond our bubble, for the mutual learning, for the expanding of all our hearts, is a timely thought.