Friday, December 2, 2011

True Friendship

For those wondering about our adoption, we are currently waiting for travel approval from China, which, according to our best estimates, should grant my husband permission to travel to collect Jude in January or early February. Even if there were anyone to leave my older son with -- a grandparent who wasn't disabled, say, or overwhelmed by the care of a disabled spouse, or a local friend who would open her home to him for two weeks and help him to continue his daily routine with a minimum of disruption -- that sort of separation from me would be devastating for him. This is a child who falls apart if I'm gone for a day. When the weather was warmer, I used to try to get out of the house to take a walk by myself every evening, and, as I walked away, I would hear him screaming in his father's arms all the way up the street (he would command me to "walk in a circle," i.e., around the block, and not to cross any streets, reminding me of James James Morrison Morrison Weatherbee George Dupree's advice to his mother to "never go down to the end of the town,/ if you don't go down with me").  But my husband won't be alone in China. A dear, dear friend whom I met through the offices of this blog (and who insists upon remaining anonymous) has offered to meet him there to help him with Jude, and to bring them both back.

As far as that close local friend goes, she doesn't exist. Friendships here -- or perhaps just my own -- seem to be relationships of convenience and utilitarianism. There is not that soulmate thing that I have with my New York friends and with some of my friends met online. Sometimes I think that life in my new locale would be pretty good if there were such a friend nearby, someone who would pop over now and then and have a cup of tea -- or does that only happen in big cities? -- and with whom I could talk about the things that are really important to me. But then I wonder if I'm idealizing friendship the way that some Theology-of-the-Body-types seem to idealize marriage.

So my crushing loneliness is situational. The gift that I have of superlative friendship -- friendships like that with my anonymous China-traveling friend, or with Mrs. C, Jude's godmother -- is precious indeed, even if these friends are not near, just as the sun is still shining on even the bleakest and cloudiest days, and just as God is always near, even when His presence seems devastatingly imperceptible.

9 comments:

Kimberlie said...

I know what you mean about true friendships. I have had the blessing of having a few truly deep friendships as an adult. You know, the kind of friend that the moment you met them, you knew that no matter where you all went in life or how separated in miles you became, you would be friends forever. I actually only live close to one. But I treasure the others beyond imagine.

I'm so glad that you have someone willing to go with your husband to help bring Jude home. There are times in China where you really do need two people - paperwork is hard to complete with a wiggly or fussy toddler on your lap and paperwork must be done. Can't wait to hear the news you have received your TA!

ex-new yorker said...

The story of your friendship (with the anonymous friend who'll be going to China) is really incredible! I'd be verklempt with gratitude if my own sister went to China for me (though she very well might, especially if one of my children were involved).

By coincidence, pretty much, because when it came up I'd been reading the TOB-related link from this post (and I think as the linked blogger acknowledges, the referenced "TOB types" are not representative of the actual TOB) my husband's out mailing a letter to my 9-year-old's overseas pen pal, who's the son of an Internet acquaintance. They've been at this for a while now. Maybe if they keep it up when they're older, it will become a deeper sort of friendship, whether or not they meet. I had one pen pal like that, before the Internet era.

Pentimento said...

It is incredible. I can hardly get my mind around it. God is good.

Mrs C said...

Love you! btw i just met someone from B. you need to meet!

Pentimento said...

Love you back, Mrs C!

Melanie B said...

I'm with you on that situational loneliness. Even having my sister living with us is small help because she's chronically ill and often sleeps when not working. Thank God for the internet and dear friends who happen to live far away!

GretchenJoanna said...

Over the decades all of my best friends have moved away. We know we are best friends even though we don't talk on the phone often or write letters; when we do get together every few years it is as though we had never been apart -- we are incapable of growing apart.
My godmother, bless her heart, lives close enough that we can have a cup of tea often. So I do thank God for one such friend.
But in your situation, with young children, the lack is much more painful and logistically significant.

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I know a woman who believes that we are, at best, only 80% compatible with any new person we meet, although we can, with some work and love, grow more compatible the longer we remain in the relationship.

My birthday came recently, and one of the people who celebrated with me was someone I've known for nearly fifteen years. She and I were probably only 40% compatible when we met, becoming friends only because she transferred to our school from another country and I happened to be in a tiny pool of the most fluent English speakers. In an "ideal" world, we never would have hung out. In this fallen world where people get dealt bad hands, she has grown into my best friend . . . and I into hers.

For a long time during those fifteen years of knowing her, I often moaned that I didn't feel truly close to the people I was supposed to be closest to--including her. On my birthday, I realised that I've never been closer to any friend in my whole life. And this realisation was the best present ever.

I hope and pray, Pentimento, that even if you don't have a friend you are very compatible with now, that you have already found someone who can and will grow with you (and perhaps is already doing so), and that one day you can look back at the decision to move to your new town with great thankfulness and joy.

Pentimento said...

Thank you, Enbrethiliel! Love you!