Wednesday, August 8, 2012

For Good

Recent events have caused me to look back and appreciate all the friendships that I have formed over the years. Making friends has never seemed to be a challenge for me. Sure I would have classes in high school that I didn't have any friends in, and I would feel awkward at first. But those classes provided me the chance to get to know a lot of the foreign exchange students or other people that I normally wouldn't get to know. They were also opportunities that pushed me out of my comfort zone. I have been truly blessed with wonderful friends - so many that have touched my life and have helped me to become a better person.

Moving to Eugene was stepping into the unknown. It was our top choice of the three schools Tom applied to, but neither of us had ever visited before. We knew no one. Tom moved here before me and said that he felt very welcome in our new ward. My first Sunday I was greeted by many people, and I am still greeted each Sunday by those same individuals. I felt welcome, but it took a couple of years for it to really feel like my home ward. Even though I'm hidden away in Primary I love getting to know the teachers and children. I've enjoyed watching the children grow up. I have enjoyed getting to know the Primary Presidency as well. They are amazing women. All that have served since I began teaching what seems like forever ago.

But I quickly realized that I was in my own little group. Many times the singles in the church either feel over looked or too focused on. Being married without children in the church is also an awkward place to be. I have found it harder to make friends because my world doesn't overlap with those that do have children. It was a new experience for me and a little on the hard side. My time is my own where as many of the women in my ward are running around taking care of their children. I was not part of the "Mommy" group.

A couple of years ago I found out that one of the counselors in the Primary Presidency actually lived close by. We talked at a Primary activity at the beginning of the year and discovered that we both were on the crafty side. This counselor also liked to get outside and go walking. She said she would invite me the next time she went out.

She did give me a call and asked if I would mind biking instead. I hadn't been on a bike in years and was a little nervous about it. She said I could ride her bike while she rode her husband's bike. I took the plunge. I was a little shaky at first, but the saying is true. :o) It is just like riding a bike. Once you learn you never forget how.

That was the beginning of many bike rides to the Rose Garden and many walks around our neighboorhood. A friendship was formed that I came to really cherish. We talked on the phone almost everyday and saw each other almost everyday. I finally had found a friend in Eugene. A true friend. One that has blessed my life immensely.

I will never forget when Leslie called me to tell me the news that she was moving. She was moving outside our ward boundaries and wouldn't be within walking distance anymore. When we hung up I started to cry. I was already having an emotional day, and I was worried that the move would change our friendship. I acted like she was moving to another state when really she wasn't moving that far away. Tom & I helped with the move, and I loved the new place that she was moving into.

The move didn't change our friendship. We now had a new neighboorhood to walk around. I would find myself stopping by her place a couple of times a week and sometimes she would drive or bike over here. We still saw each other often. We would share our creative endeavours with each other and enjoy shopping trips to Michaels or Ben Franklin's. I spent time with her on her birthdays while her husband was at work. He always insisted that she treat me out for lunch. :o)

A year later she moved back into our ward and within walking distance again. It was good to have her closer again. Especially as I came to the relization that I was struggling with depression. There were times I would spend at her place until my mom or Tom got home so that I was safe. If I was scared to be alone I just had to text her (she got a new phone and we became texting buddies) and walk over. She kept me in her prayers and baked me delicious goodies.

The beginning of this year has been difficult for us for different reasons. Me with my struggle with anxiety and depression and Leslie with her health issues. We haven't seen each other as much though we have stayed in touch via texting, and anytime we both made it to church I always enjoyed sitting next to her and getting a hug.

A couple of months ago she announced once again that she was moving. This time out of state. I was devestated. She was teary eyed when she told me and she said that we would stay in touch via texting and facebook. She was going to be moving shortly after Josalyn and Bryce moved. I wasn't sure how I was going to handle it emotionally. I had already lost two grandparents, my uncle was dying and the kids were going to be moving. And now I was going to lose a dear friend.

Well it turns out that with her health issues she and her husband decided that she wouldn't be moving. I was happy. I felt that I was losing too much in my life already, and I couldn't picture my life in Eugene without her. My uncle passed away and the kids moved and somehow I survived it all even though I found it hard and heart breaking. But at least Leslie wasn't moving.

It is funny how God works in our lives. Leslie wasn't ready to move at that time and I wasn't at a very safe place to handle her leaving. When I found out she had signed a year lease I let out a sigh of relief and really began to believe that she was here to stay at least for another year. But I was wrong. Next month my dear friend is moving to Arizona. I believe that we will stay in touch, but it won't be the same as having her within walking distance or sitting next to her at church. It will be another change that I will have to deal with. But I am thankful for the timing. I feel that I'm at a better place to face this new change. Yes it will still be hard and I will miss her much. But God is aware of both of our needs, and I am putting my trust in Him.

"I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason. Bringing something we must learn and we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them and we help them in return...I do believe I have been changed for the better. And because I knew you I have been changed for good." -Wicked

You have changed my life for the better Leslie. You have helped make Eugene feel like home. It won't be the same without you, but I am thankful for your friendship. I am thankful for you. I am thankful for all the memories we share, and I hope there will be more to be made in the future. I love you.







Thomas said...

This is absolutely wonderful. It makes me want to cry. Leslie truly has been a wonderful friend in your life, and I hope you two do stay in touch as much as possible. She really helped you to love Eugene and everything. We will miss her and love her.

Leslie said...

Thank you Melissa! You are too sweet! I have truly enjoyed your friendship. I have felt like you were my daughter that lives by me and it is so nice to see you often. And since you are my daughter, we will never lose touch because even though I don't see daughters often, when we do get together is will be great. I will be living in Florence for at least two months every summer (John promised) so while you are here I will see you and I will want to bike Eugene in the summers too! So no worries! We will stay in touch! I love you. Leslie

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about Leslie! She was a great friend to you and I hope you guys keep up your friendship. I've REALLY struggled this year because three of my closest friends left me all at the same time. I've been praying to find new friends, to find ways to reach out to others and to strengthen the relationships I already have. I hope God puts some more wonderful people in your life.

PS I live in Arizona, you could always come visit both of us ;)

Love you with all of my heart,