As an introvert who enjoys people, I tend to collect them.
Not all are close friends. That would be impossible.
Yet, scores of casual acquaintances and activity-centered relationships are meaningful to me. Perhaps you count yourself among these.
The tough part is when people leave. They enter by the front door, stay for awhile, slip out the back — occasionally without saying goodbye.
Here yesterday, gone today.
With some it’s inevitable. College students graduate. Other folks move away or change life-stations. Some depart this earth permanently.
We’re taught in the church — rightly, in my view — to hold lightly our worldly possessions. Cars, TV’s, gadgets: these have no lasting value, and most veteran Christians could, if necessary, ditch them for a greater good.
But people are a sacred attachment. As divine image-bearers they represent God to us in some sense. They embody true, objective value. Thus their departure from our lives, in whatever form it takes, can leave us gasping for air.
As for myself, the terror of middle-age (and enjoying people) is the astonishing number of opportunities I’m given to say goodbye. To release people to their destinies and “move on.” This I find difficult.