The wife and I are currently in Arizona visiting family and friends. Yesterday, my mom took a day off from work and the three of us went out to get coffee and spent 3 hours talking a lot about life, faith, Orthodoxy and where we see ourselves going in the next few years. It was an interesting conversation and it reminded me that Orthodoxy is still largely an unknown to a big majority of Americans who confuse it with Catholicism. My mom, who was raised Methodist, seemed to learn a lot and come away from the conversation with a much improved understanding, so that was good. But it was just nice to have 3 uninterrupted hours to sit back and shoot the breeze with her and the wife. I only wish my brother and step-dad could have been there.
We're seeing various friends over the next few days, which reminds that the nostalgia I feel for this place is just that and the warm feelings of the past will never be rekindled like they were. Even a couple of years ago, all I would have had to do coming back into town is call one of any number of people and we would have immediately been drawn back into the network of friends. There would have been some group gathering either planned due to our return or already in the works. But that is no longer the case; what was once a relatively tight-knit group of friends has suffered the steady attrition that marriage, work, moving and the struggles of daily life inevitably introduces. It will never be the same and I have to remind myself of that. I'm left with the inescapable conclusion that this is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live here.