On several occasions over the last month, I’ve spent time with good friends, caught up with old friends, and even made some new friends. And it’s been great. But last night, I had to say so long to two friends I’ve come to know and love over the last two years. They were our pew buddies the very first time my husband took me to visit our current church. And honestly, a big part of what helped me make the decision to go back again. We were young married couples in the same phase of life, and their sweet spirits were good for my soul.

As I gave them hugs for the last time before their move, I thought about how good it feels to have good people in your life, and how you should cherish them. It also made me think of what I would have, should have, and could have done differently while we were still living so close to each other.

I should have called.

I could have planned some dinners and play dates.

I would have done more to let them know I cared.

And the list goes on.

I seem to do this every time good friends move away. I visit the place of would haves, should haves, and could haves.

Sometimes in life, a visit there is inevitable. But it’s a terrible thing when you start living there. It can make you incredibly insecure. You constantly question whether you are giving enough. Like your best is never good enough. Like you’re always one second away from falling out of someone’s good graces because of something you didn’t realize you could have done.

As easy as it is to find yourself the martyr in a one-sided friendship, I’ve learned that real friendships just aren’t that way.

True friends love you where you are, and at times, in spite of yourself. They are honest. They encourage you to grow and to explore new things, but they don’t try to change you; they just give you the time and space to change if that is what needs to happen.

Knowing that is always great when you find yourself dwelling in the place of would haves, should haves, and could haves. It brings you back to reality, and lets you know your best is okay. And in some cases, it also gives you great people to stay with on your next vacation.

 

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