Family and Friends/Holy Friendship/My Relationships What I Learned by Moving Away from My Best Friend by Leah Murphy My Person Nearly all of my favorite memories of college have one thing in common: my best friend Lisa and I were together. We had some of the greatest times, staying up late eating pizza, talking about boys, pranking each other and a few other unlucky souls, tried to write papers while simultaneously getting into gif conversations on Facebook, making Tarzan music videos, hiking, pretending like we knew how to do CrossFit, and so on, and so forth. We also shared a lot… in addition to good music, a room, our wardrobes, and our food, we shared who we were with one another. We would share our dreams and hopes, our struggles and fears, our insecurities, our doubts, and some of our deepest prayers with each other. We sought Christ together and shared our journeys with each other. Few people on the planet know me as well as Lisa and that made it really hard when I graduated college and moved away. Everything was suddenly going to be different because this person, who was such an enormous part of my day-to-day life, was suddenly going to be limited to texts, phone calls, and FaceTime dates. Moving Away and Changing Not too long after I moved away and started experiencing life, community, and my first post-grad job in a new state, it became clear that I was experiencing a huge time of change, growth, and newness. And all this without my best friend right beside me, as I’d been so used to! Meanwhile, she was finishing up school and getting hip surgery, while planning her wedding and a cross-country move. We both found ourselves going through pretty big changes and moments of growth without each other and this was not an easy thing for our friendship. Called to Virtue One moment in particular, this became extremely difficult. I found myself growing and changing in a lot of ways that were not necessarily for the better. I was trying to navigate a new world of freedom from academia, financial independence, and some serious single-hood, and I wasn’t it doing it very gracefully. I found myself gradually, and in small ways, becoming more vain, hardened, and bitter. I could tell Lisa was having a hard time watching me go through these changes, and eventually, she called me out on the ways I was failing to act virtuously. This was a really hard conversation to have because, of course, I didn’t want to hear that I was acting like a fool! BUT, my best friend knows me and she knew that the way I was acting was not good for me. Furthermore, she loves me and loved me enough to be bold enough to tell me that some of the choices I was making weren’t the best choices. Moving away from your closest friends, from the people that know and love you most, is never easy. It’s really difficult to go through changes, challenges, and growth apart from your person! Certainly, God provides amazing new relationships when we make big transitions, but it’s always hard to be apart from the people you have such profound history with. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it should be avoided. When we go through big transitions, like transferring schools, moving away to college, or starting a new job, we should rely on the good friends we’ve been gifted to help us to stay true to who we are and remain virtuous through transition. We shouldn’t hold back in sharing our struggles, weaknesses, and shortcomings with them; we should trust that, if they truly love us, they will hear us out on all of that, and help us to become better people through all of that. True Friendship… Even from Afar Your best friends, even if they live far, will still call you out when you’re being a turd because they love you… and if you love you, you should hear them out. Obviously my best friend could pick up on my foolishness because she knows me better than most. Even though you might move far away from the people that care about you most, don’t dismiss their advice just because they don’t live near you and might not see all the ins and outs of your day to day, like they might have when you were going to the same school, lived on the same street, were roommates, etc. They give you advice because they want you to be happy; they wouldn’t be giving it if they didn’t love you. Of course it’s not easy living apart from my best friend right now, but just because we live apart from each other doesn’t mean we have to cease sharing who we are with each other. That part of our friendship doesn’t need to end just because we’re geographically separated and, through that sharing, we can continue to try to lead each other to virtue and holiness, as we try to navigate through this crazy little journey of life!