All Good Things Must Come to An End
Having a male roommate is sort of a 24-hour-a-day “Enter at your own risk” type of situation. On any given day, you never know if you’re going to open the fridge and find six-month-old milk growing a new species of antibiotics, head into the bathroom to find the toilet seat up and/or his pants down, or be sitting innocently on the couch and have him fly across the room like a sumo wrestler and leap on top of you in all his giddy, puppy-like joy, thinking he’s the most hilarious person on earth for pinning you to the couch and forcing you to sniff his socks. It’s a proverbial mecca of dirty dishes and even dirtier laundry. It’s video games and wide-open bags of chips (yours, that he took without asking) and ring around the shower and boxers mixed in with your delicates and takeout in the fridge older than you are. It’s arguments over who scooped the kitty litter last and whose turn it is to take out the garbage and who used the last roll of toilet paper. Living with a boy is, in a word, chaos.
It’s also late night trips to Walgreens to buy matching chocolate Ghiradelli candy bars when it feels like the whole world is against you. It’s endless movie watching and spontaneous dance parties at midnight on your birthday and a big, broad shoulder to lean on when someone breaks your heart. It’s someone to help you carry in the groceries…and also the weights of life. It’s someone who makes you laugh until you cry, and allows you to cry until you laugh. It’s a best friend that loves you unconditionally, even when you have PMS, even when you’re wearing rollers and zit cream, even when you are the most unlovable person on the face of the earth.
I have been best friends with my roommate, Jason, for the past four years. We met through my ex (also known as my Mr. Big), who also happens to be Jason’s OTHER best friend (Awkward alert!) I lived with Jason for the first time about two years ago, and moved back in about seven months to see him through what was possibly the most difficult time of his life. It was a season of growth and pain and change and uncertainty for him…when circumstances beyond his control broke his heart, but never his spirit. And though we weren’t sure how it was all going to turn out until earlier this week, he never lost faith in himself, and he never lost faith in God.
The storm has passed now, and Jason has emerged victorious on the other side, but as a result, has moved elsewhere. I won’t go into a lot of detail except to say – his goodness and honesty and all-encompassing faith won the battle for him without him ever even having to step onto the battlefield. And as most gloriously happy events do, this story has a flipside of sadness, as our last official night in our house as roommates was last night. When I got home from work today, the silence of our house was deafening.
A few months ago, we sat on the very couch where I’m sitting now and mused about this day…the day when his situation would be resolved and he would be able to move on with the rest of his life. We laughed and planned and wondered what that mysterious future would look like. Now it’s here…and my partner in crime is not. We will likely never be roommates again. And though I am so incredibly happy for him and his new beginning, I’m still sad to see the credits roll on our ending. Yes, we will always be best friends and that will never change – but living through some of the most defining moments of your life with another person is the kind of thing that will never come again. I look back on all of it now – the tears, the fears, the laughter, the fights, the prayers, the dreams – and marvel at the beauty of it all.
For a moment, we were becoming who we were going to be…together.
Then we woke up one morning and WERE the people we were going to be…apart.
That’s what friendship is all about, you know. The pulling and pushing and challenging and healing and feeling and loving and moving on.
I would urge you, as someone sitting on the other side of a goodbye I wasn’t quite ready for: Don’t wait until you’re faced with someone’s absence to acknowledge the importance of their presence. Love them NOW. Realize that the flaws and irritations and bad habits and imperfections are all a part of what makes them, and you, completely unique and special and rare to this universe. Realize that some moments are WORTH staying up late and missing out on sleep for. Some messes are WORTH overlooking. Some roadtrips DO need to be taken, right then and there. In ten years, you’re not going to remember that time you got in trouble with your boss for calling in sick for three days in a row…but you WILL remember that spontaneous road trip to the beach when you stayed up all night and ate nothing but McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme for three days and struck out on the open road with nothing but a tank of gas, $20 in your pocket, and your best friend by your side.
As for me…it’s time to move on to the next chapter of my own life. A chapter that hasn’t been written yet. I look around the room and I know this season of my life is over. A few months ago, when I moved back in with Jason, I mused about how it seemed as though history was repeating itself, and I was reliving two years ago all over again. If that is indeed the case, and I got a chance over these past six months to reboot my past, I’d like to think I was a little better friend, a little better person this time around. I remember a day a couple of months ago when Jason was so distraught over the circumstances he was up against, and so worn down by the battle he was facing, I came home to find him lying flat on his back, in the middle of the living room floor, staring at the ceiling without expression. His sadness was palpable, and he was completely oblivious to the messiness of the floor he was lying on or our cats sniffing curiously around him, or even me staring down at him with concern. Without even thinking about it, I lay down next to him, in my dressy work clothes, flat on my back, staring at the ceiling right along with him, in the only way I knew to show him my camaraderie and support. We must have stayed there for 20 minutes or more, not saying a word, just staring at that ceiling as though it had all the answers to the mysteries of the universe. Finally I reached over and took his hand, and together we stood, ready to face the world again.
Today I stand on my own…ready to face the world…armed with the knowledge that no matter how far away from each other our lives may take us, Jason and I will always share the memories of a season where we refined each other, and Life defined us both.