Most of my friends speak fondly of old friends, folks they grew up with, went to high school or college with, or knew in their neighborhood two, three, or even four moves ago. In fact, they keep in touch with them on a regular or semi-regular basis. It could be at the level of exchanging Christmas cards or purposefully dropping in on them every now and then on their travels. They tell me that maintaining relationships with old friends is important and precious to them. As for me, I have always consciously and purposefully moved on whenever I have moved on. Upon any of my location changes in life, I have always thrown out the old Rolodex and started anew. I have always argued that distance does not make the heart grow fonder and it certainly does not forge any relationship deeper. When you are not a regular and consistent part of someone's life, connections fray and then break off completely. Others may counter that, perhaps, I just have not had any relationships that were all that deep. I'm not so sure. It just seems to me to take much more effort to keep old, stagnant, and past-frozen relationships alive than anyone seems to get out of them. Certainly in the past few years, after I discovered Facebook, I have kept a few old acquaintances in my life, but I can assure you that the depth of these Facebook exchanges is a pale shadow of what I used to know.
The lyrics from the old Garth Brooks song Burning Bridges drifted through my mind recently and led me to this post. Time will tell if these words are prophetic or not.
Knowing that the day
My lesson's finally learned
I'll be standing at a river
Staring out across tomorrow
And the bridge I need to get there
Will be a bridge that I have burned.
Folks who have friends from their past that are a regular part of their lives, even after moves and families. Not a strength of mine.