We just returned from a week-long trip back to Suburbia. We cadged dinner invitations from old friends and invaded the sister-in-law's house. We visited my former employer and noted the scores of new housing developments and strip malls. More sprawl, more crime, more traffic, more McMansions. Less snow. We love to visit. We love to come home.
So my whole thing is that one day the Husband and I looked at each other and said, "what the hey... let's move back to the North Country!" and I was surprised by both our decision and by my contentment with our new life. Right? Even though we left jobs we liked with decent salaries, good friends, our church, Bob's sister and her brood of young'uns, decent shopping, cultural opportunities out the ying-yang, etc., we're fixing to live in the woods and have embraced living lean (financially, not physically), don't lock our house or our car and have learned to rise above an overwhelming tide of consumerism (most days). But there are still things we miss about Suburbia. It's been nearly five years now since our move, and the longing for the mall, the fast pace, the better grooming have faded. The ache of relationships put on hold, meted out in dribbling doses once a year, once every other year doesn't fade. We are grateful for the time we just spent with these dear ones. Dinner conversation alternately flowing easily and tumbling out, trying to cover as much ground as possible, now marks our friendships with these friends we left behind. Wild, frenetic play marks our kids' time with their cousins.
I don't like most people, but I do like them. And, since I've gone to the trouble of giving them space in my little grinch heart, I think I'll try to keep 'em. Especially since they're not that mad that we left them and do tolerate our smugness about ditching Suburbia, which is, after all, where they've chosen to live. I've had long-distance friendships last and I've had them fail, and you never can tell how they'll go. But God gave us six good years in Suburbia and I will honor that by nurturing these friendships as best I can --
(Just don't ask me to talk on the telephone!)