little world; big hole (soLs)

Last night we had some of our new friends over for a Hoosier night. Andy and I made a traditional Hoosier meal — breaded tenderloins, burgers on the grill, oven fries, and watermelon. We watched the movie Hoosiers, because, really, you can’t live in Indiana and not watch that movie. I went all out with dessert, making the state pie — sugar cream.

They are from Taiwan and Austria and Norway. And frankly, they are more like family than friends. That’s the thing about investing in lives, getting to know people, learning to love and care about them — they begin taking up space in your heart. Then your heart stretches and grows and molds around new friends. This year my heart has gotten bigger and the world has gotten smaller.

But now it’s time for them to return to their first homes. (I can’t just say home, because this is their home too. They’ve made themselves at home in my heart.) Martin and Annie leave on Wednesday. Ting leaves next week. Karianne is here for another six weeks (shew!).

Martin didn’t say good bye last night. “I’ll see you again before my flight, right?” he asked.

“Absolutely,” Andy said. Even though we know we’ll keep in touch — technology is super-cool that way — none of us are ready to say good bye.

I think it’s because we know once our hearts are stretched they don’t really snap back to the size they were before. Instead, there’s just a great big hole. And even though that hole hurts as it fills up with missing them, I would still choose it again. Even though I’m left with a floppy heart, the world is smaller and my corner of it is better.

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Slice of Life stories on Two Writing

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  1. A Hoosier good bye for now party sounds like fun. When you said “… they begin to take up space in your heart” I understood what an act of love it was.

  2. You created vivid pictures to show the mixed emotions. Enjoy your last 6 weeks with Karianne. I felt a sense of relief right along with your shew! I had been thinking that the post was going to be about her leaving in the next few days as well. I am glad that she gets to linger a bit after the end of the school year.

  3. As you said, there is always space in one's heart for love…we are all enriched by opening ourselves up to the possibility of it. Anyway, you now have exciting places to visit, Ruth!

  4. I love the ways you described all the changes these new friends have made to your heart throughout the post. The last paragraph wraps it together perfectly, and makes MY heart ache but also leap for the strong connections you have built with each other! I think we grow each time the world shrinks in this way!

  5. Oh geesh, the way you went from the food, to the people to the world and your heart, and…well, all of it! I was left with an, “awww” feeling as I finished this piece. Lovely how you are able to see the good in missing and the good in being stretched–being better. Love it all.

  6. Hey, I recognize some of those people! Your description of the heart stretching and flopping is so vivid and so, well, right. It reminds me of a powerful metaphor about the layers of an onion being similar to the layers of important people who've shaped our lives from Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb. You have the voice of a young adult novelist, Ruth. I am thinking that is a combination of your natural voice and all that cultivating of the voice that you've been doing with all that writing!

  7. I love what onesunflower said, “I wonder if holes in our hearts are like holes in knitting – places for angels and God to slip in and out.” So much more eloquent than what I was going to write.

    Anyway, I've been Skyping with my friend Stacey (my college friend who co-officiated our wedding). She lives in Israel. It's not the same as sitting down across from her in my living room, but it does bring us closer!

  8. Good Friends and food. Sounds like a wonderfully fun evening.
    “And even though that hole hurts as it fills up with missing them, I would still choose it again.” The pain in not greater than the joy of their friendship.
    I love the phrase, “fills up with missing them”