Transitioning by Kim Clayton


My best friend (let’s call her Jane because that’s her name) is moving away this week, and I’m transplanting peonies. Each time I drive the shovel into the dirt, my thoughts sink to deep places. I worry I’ll never see her again; that she’ll find a new best friend; that she’ll forget about me as she settles into her new home. You’d think she’d gone on to glory or moved to another country, but the truth is, she’s moving just one hour away.

Yes, I’m obviously pathetic. I don’t like change. Especially when it affects me!

People have often mistaken us as sisters, and she is truly the sister of my heart. She has helped me grow. She has listened, encouraged and asked the right questions. She has proven herself genuine and makes me smile. She has prayed for me. She has laughed with me, and cried with me. She is salt and light, and balm. And although technology affords us so many advantages to keep relationships close, the thought of her not being in my regular circle, not being immediately accessible, makes me sigh with much drama and sadness.

Jane uses the word “transition” instead of “change” when talking about this move. I like that word. It somehow makes the pill easier to swallow. Change makes me nervous of the outcome, whereas transition feels gradual, taking time to become accustomed to the new normal.

In 1 Samuel 20, David is leaving his best friend Jonathan and they are grieving because they are aware they may never see each other again this side of heaven. I really like what Jonathan says as David is leaving: “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” 1 Samuel 20:42

Wow, this offers great perspective. Can you imagine just letting go and being at peace? No skyping or texting or even the occasional long-distance call to keep in touch. Simply trusting God’s plans for the connection and relationship.

Change and separation hurt, but this perspective brings freedom. Of course I want what’s best for Jane and I want her to have joy, so I’m working, bit by bit, to adopt Jonathan’s attitude of release and trust. I know God understands our friendship and that He loves us both.

So with this mindset, I’ve been “transitioning” peonies to their new homes. Most of them have been settled into the sunshine-y spaces of our barnyard, while one bunch is being planted an hour from here, in Jane’s yard. A little witness to the friendship that will continue to grow and blossom and bring beauty. I’m sure they’ll be happy there.