One of the inadvertent consequences of deciding to be definitely here is risking the pain of separation after being fully present with people. This is a basic tenet of right relationship -- amount and depth of love is directly proportional to amount and depth of pain that can be experienced.
As I've mentioned before on this blog, my tendency has been to stay lightly disengaged so as to mitigate these effects, but I can do that no longer. It is no surprise, therefore, that soon after making that decision engage fully I am confronted with the potential of two very dear couples leaving Portland. These couples are integral parts of the family that I've found myself among out here, across the Rocky Mountains and Mississippi River from my blood relations.
It's hard. I've always been the one to say goodbye. That's hard in it's own way, but the adventure of what's next is soothing, or distracting at the very least. Staying behind...that's something I'm going to have to learn how to do. Especially in a city like Portland, where so many young people come not so much in search of something as to escape somewhere else. We are refugees, us transplants, often running from things we cannot recognize until we come here and realize they have followed us.
The inevitability of having to deal with those things tends to draw us back to where we have some kind of root system. To family. To friends with whom we have history, inside jokes, even drama. To place...the street corners and sandwich shops where we feel utterly at home.
My friends are not considering leaving Portland. They are considering going home. How could I, who have searched for a home for so long, ever be against that? If/when my friends leave, I will be sad. I will regret all the times I should have called, should have visited, should have hugged.
But more than that, I will laugh with them; remember. We have made a home for ourselves here, in this Portland, even if only for a little while. For that, I will ever be grateful--not to the idea of a city, but to my dear friends. We will always come home to one another.