Tuesday, October 09, 2012

An Ode to Friendship

So, the Craig Family just picked up and, after 14 years of living in Las Vegas, Nevada, we moved to Utah.

Fourteen years is a long time. I was in my 20s when we moved to Las Vegas. Katie and I had this discussion when we moved there in 1998: “We’ll stay two years, and then head somewhere else.” “Agreed.”

We arrived on August 10th, Katie’s birthday. We had Abbie, our Civic hatchback, and a small moving truck. Everything we owned fit into our little two-bedroom apartment, with  space to spare. Two and a half years later, when we were supposed to leave Las Vegas, we had Garren, our first house, a new job, wonderful friends, and Connor on the way. We decided to stay. Five years after, that we had also had Roxanna, Tanner, a mini-van, a new job, a new house, and even more wonderful friends. We decided to stay. Six years after that we had Becca and Lucy, a 12-passenger van, the same house, a new job, a calling as bishop…and even more wonderful friends. We decided to stay.  

Then, change was in the air. We felt tugging and nudging and we knew that it was time to leave. And we knew we would miss our home and the familiarity of the life we created in Las Vegas. And most of all, we knew we would miss those we loved.

We attended Stake Conference on Sunday, September 23, the day before we loaded a much larger truck.  Bruce Ballard, president of the Las Vegas Temple, and his wife were speaking. Fourteen years ago, he happened to be serving as the ward mission leader in Desert Shores Ward, and I was a ward missionary, serving with him.

Katie and I visited with the Ballards after the conference. I love President Ballard. He has an earnest, quirky nature, and a brilliant mind. He quotes scripture randomly and from memory, he is fascinating, and he is a thoughtful and pondering soul. I’m proud to know him. When I told him we were moving, he said something that comforted me and settled on my heart so easily, I felt confident it was true.

He essentially said, “We’ll miss seeing you; but I know we’re eternal friends. Doesn’t that seem to be part of the Plan? Just looking at it in terms of celestial economics, why would the Lord let the relationships we make in life go to waste? Why wouldn’t He put all those relationships to use in building His kingdom and working together? It just makes sense.”

It does make sense. Father is not a wasteful Being. He is all-knowing, all-powerful…and He has commanded us to love each other. Why would He want us to love each other if these relationships were not for enduring and eternal good? Why would something as wonderful as our friendships not be eternal?

Many of my friendships have changed my life. They have been productive and worthwhile. They have comforted and sustained and inspired me to be better. They have magnified and swelled and filled me. They have uplifted and edified me. From my immediate family to friendships in college, my mission, my career, my neighbors, and my wards.

I know things will be different now that we have moved away from our Vegas Family of Friends. I know we won’t know all the daily or weekly details –and I will miss that – but for me, there will be no weakening of the foundation of my relationships with friends, family, and loved ones. Not in those friendships where it matters not one iota how long it’s been since our last conversation – a day, a month, a year – and our familiarity and love and history, our eternal friendship, makes it as if no time has passed.