And I don't mean getting pushed into a ditch or anything like that either, although I'm sure that would make a great blog post and story to tell the grandchildren, "so there was this one time your grandfather got pushed into a ditch and left there for dead but because he walked in the snow to school, uphill both ways in his father's pajamas, he made it through ok." No, my life is nothing like that, although walking around in this endless winter may seem like the infamous grandpa story that every old man covets to tell his grandchildren.
I guess this is a long winded way to get to my point of feeling like I got ditched. I'm the only one left in my apartment right now, everyone is gone. I have no more roomates, which also means that I don't have their messes. I don't mind so much, but I felt a twinge of sadness when I had to say goodbye to my good friend Mike Murdock, who was my roomate for this semester and a long time (or what seems like a long time) friend. I have a habit of watching for as long as I can when people I know I won't see for awhile drive away from me. I usually stand at the road's edge as they pull further and further out of sight. I wait until they really are gone from view before turning to the sound of grit under my feet and beginning the slow pondering walk back inside. Maybe I want the moment to last as long as possible, because, who knows, that may be the last time I ever see them in this mortal life.
I guess we didn't start off as friends. The first time I saw him was in a zone conference on my mission. He looked scared and new. We could see through the false bravado, and the bunch of us Chinese missionaries decided to abort our slightly evil highly mischievous plot to play a trick on him. A few months later we were companions. I was prideful, he was stubborn. We got along about as well as two people that didn't like each other could get along with each other. It seemed like he would take the contrary opinion at times just so he could argue with me (it turns out that he did that for that reason, just to make me mad). I remember one particular occasion where things got out of hand and we were busy yelling at each other in the car parked half under some palm tree trying its best to be shady. I said that God probably put us together because he wanted us to learn from each other. We were both students at BYU-I and we were both probably going to be in all the same Chinese classes together, so we better get along or else the rest of the mission and school would be tough. I don't know if I really meant what I said;I didn't know it would be prophecy.
A few months later we repented. We realized that we were both being dumb. Looking back now I attribute that to the hand of the Lord intervening and softening our hearts. We forgave each other openly and became good friends. There were hard times later, the usual trials that come from missionary work, but we were there for each other. We knew each others good sides and bad.
In November he came home, and I went to see him. I marveled at the person that he had become. Looking at him also made me think about who I had become since serving.
It's funny how things work out sometimes. The end of this semester made me think of how far Mike and I have come. He became a best friend, a friend that understood the "newer" me than my old friends from home and before. This past semester I took pride in announcing to people, "this is my roomate Mike. We used to be mission companions. We used to hate each other. We're good buddies now." And then I would grin obnoxiously, the grin that makes me look like a cartoon character.
The mission chapter has been over for some time. The school semester as well. Two and a half years of seeing each other frequently done. Now he's going to Provo because BYU-I doesn't have his major. Standing by the roadside, I had to say goodbye again to a best friend, something I realized that I'm always horrible at, and probably will be horrible at for the rest of my life.
Maybe one day, it'll all be back to the way things used to be. I really hope the scriptures are true when it says that the same sociality will exist, and I'll be able to scowl at him again when he walks into the room cheerful and smiling.