Over the past year, I’ve been in a position where almost all my close friends live far away. For the most part, this absolutely sucks. I’m the type of person that doesn’t need to be surrounded by people all the time. Give me a few solid souls to lean on and I am set. It’s been incredibly difficult without the people I love most in the world by my side. No amount of reading and Netflix can compensate for deep talks and belly laughter.
The one good thing, though, is that it makes the time I have with my dear ones so much more precious.
This past weekend, I was able to spend time with some of my favorite people in the world, who happen to live in Austria. We met at Camp Shamineau, where I spent the past three summers working, but our friendship has gone far beyond camp life. When I studied abroad in Europe, I visited their home in the Alps. This weekend, I brought them to see my home.
I don’t really know what to say about my time with the Austrians. I dragged them through several charming small towns, to a local parade, a waterfall, and (of course) Target. We laid around, ate good food, and soaked in each other’s company.
Being around people you care about brings out the best in you.
During the past few months at home, certain pieces of myself have gone dormant. I’ve forgotten what a joy it is to serve others, to put their needs before my own, and what it feels like to be surrounded by my Christian brothers and sisters. My faith does best when I am on my own, independent of my parents, and although this summer hasn’t been BAD, it hasn’t been productive. I’ve lost sight of what it means to GROW in my faith. I’ve settled for getting by.
The two days spent with my Austrian friends reminded me of these things. Just by being in their presence, listening to them talk, I felt God’s Spirit flare up in my heart.
I felt a desire to grow, to serve, to love. I wanted to spend time investing in my faith instead of hobbies and activities.
Saying goodbye to Anna, Emma, and Anna-Laura today was incredibly sad. They’re some of the dearest people in my heart and, since we live on other sides of the world, I don’t know when I’m going to see them next. But being with them helped remind me of so many things that I had let slip by, giving me badly needed encouragement regarding my future plans. I am so thankful for that.
However, I do know that these girls and I are friends for life. I never imagined I would come to be tied so deeply to a bunch of people from Austria–of all places, why there? I cling to the knowledge that we will meet again. Friends like them don’t come along every day–and when they do, they stick. I don’t know how much time will pass between today and our next meeting, but I earnestly look forward to it.
This weekend was, by far, the highlight of my summer thus far.