Farewell to Alyson, Eric, Ryan, Serena, and Jo-Jo Harber — wonderful friends who moved this week to Seattle.
We spent much of the last week trying to say farewell these friends. The operative word in that last sentence was "trying." We had several fun dinners, spent a weekend together while our boys played in a soccer tournament, played a few practical jokes (The Conders paid back an old debt of a really clever anti-Carolina song written by the Harbers to the tune of "Jingle Bells" by our own desecration of a Christian praise song tune with lyrics defaming Duke and Coach K), gave and received some hugs, shed some tears, and offered a few words in an attempt to summarize the breadth of our friendship. But you really can't adequately say farewell to friends to have deeply affected your life. I'll venture one more college try at farewell by trying to share a bit of what we learned in this friendship.
The Harbers helped expose some of the deepest maladies that afflict our family — our independence and self-sufficiency. We're pretty good at helping others out. But when it comes to our needs, we like to "go it alone." We're the family who buys the chainsaw to use once in a while but also to make available to our neighbors whenever they need it. We're great at lending but not so good at borrowing or asking for help. We like to feel sufficient and capable to meet all of the demands of life, even in the times when those demands come in overwhelming waves. Alyson and Eric are friends that insisted on helping out during those times. You know what kind of friendship I'm describing — the friends who drive your kids to events, games, and parties when you're too tired or overcommitted to attend — the friends who cheer as vehemently for your children as they do their own — the friends who applaud the gifts of your kids and love them despite their weaknesses — the friends who help out and don't keep score — the kind of friends who know you and still love you.
I want to thank the Harbers for being friends (among several others) who have taught us that life is so much better when shared — that self-sufficiency and independence rob us of the joy of receiving the love and presence of others in your life — that the challenges of life are only managable in community. This was only a portion of our friendship. We will miss all the other laughs, the Monday night dinners at Moe's ("Welcome to Moe's!), the soccer sideline conversations of matters great and small, our Duke vs. Carolina taunting, and most of all the opportunity to share life regularly with you.
May you find the embrace of the kind of community you extended here to so many in your new home. You will be missed but our lives remain fuller because of this friendship. We will eagerly await your returns.
"We approved this advertisement on love, friendship, and community"
- Mimi, Keenan, and Kendall