Friday, May 28, 2010

Poetry Friday: Waving Goodbye

A friend is moving again. My girls will get to spend a couple of days with S. before she moves across the country. She first moved away a few years ago, to another town. Now she's moving to a new state. This is what I wrote in 2006:

I'm referring to the fact that it is moving day here in our little town for some friends of ours. We'll be seeing them off later today, and my kids plan to wear black for the occasion. We met them our first year of homeschooling -- could that be six years ago? -- and the kids quickly became the best of friends. I still remember the delight of the two oldest kids (my Anne-with-an-e and their little girl, S.) as they discovered that they were kindred spirits.

"Redwall?!" shrieked S. "You like Redwall?? ... Oh, yeah ... these girls are friends of mine!"

(As C.S. Lewis said: "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one!'")

And they've been friends ever since. Last night, Anne said, "Mom, I wish I could go back in time. I wish I could relive the last six years with my friend." What greater tribute is there than that?

Last week, as I watched Anne give her girlfriend a going-away gift, and watched them hug one another in an oh-so-grown-up-girlfriend way, I tried to hide my tears from them. It was The Going Away Slumber Party and I didn't want to be the first one to introduce weeping into the evening. But, as I watched that exchange, I was struck by the fragile and mysterious beauty of friendship. What a gift it is from God.

One more quote from Lewis:

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.

That's all I can really write right now. I have a long post churning inside, something about having 8 or 9 friends move away in the last few years, something about how just as I grow close to a new friend, she moves away, taking her children (and thus my children's dear friends) with her, leaving us spinning at the loss, something else about how God keeps detaching me from this world, and I keep going, going, but with protest and reluctance ... because friends, as Lewis said, give that elusive, ineffable value to our lives. They add riches we can't articulate.

Waving Goodbye
by Wesley McNair

Why, when we say goodbye
at the end of an evening, do we deny
we are saying it at all, as in We'll
be seeing you, or I'll call, or Stop in,
somebody's always at home? Meanwhile, our friends,
telling us the same things, go on disappearing
beyond the porch light into the space
which except for a moment here or there
is always between us, no matter what we do.
Waving goodbye, of course, is what happens
when the space gets too large
for words – a gesture so innocent
and lonely, it could make a person weep
for days.

(Read the rest of the poem here.)


The Poetry Friday round up is at The Miss Rumphius Effect.


tanita davis said...

this small flag
with our hands to show the closeness we wish for
in spite of what pulls us apart again
and again

My heart hurts for your girls - each goodbye becomes easier in some ways, and harder in others - but I try to think of it in terms of having new places to visit soon.

Maybe that's a cheering thought.

Mary Lee said...

It doesn't make YOUR hurt any easier, but by sharing it, you have made me remember to value my friends of many years. Bless you, and may the next close friend come into your life soon.

Karen E. said...

Thank you, Tanita and Mary Lee -- what sweet thoughts.