Dear mission team. High school orchestra. Youth group. Musical cast. Sports team, project group, graduating class, study abroad group. Dear group.
We certainly had our ups and downs didn’t we? Arguments, broken rules, relationship drama. But those things fade, and the moments that stay seared into my memory are moments that I treasure. I loved you.
Do you remember our last day? Our last night, when I promised you, my group, that I’d always and forever be a part of you? The last time I hugged my fellow members and cried and ate pizza and told myself that my future would be okay even without you, because I’d always have you to come back to. Once a member, always a member, right?
Well it’s been a few years and I think I was wrong.
What I’ve come to realize is that most often, your name is not what I loved. I don’t love going back to revisit you even though I swore I would always be a part of you. I don’t want to go to your meetings, to have reunions. I don’t want to help reform you for the next generation to enjoy. Because just like people, my beloved groups change. And while I loved the group you were then, I’m not in love with the group you are now.
You are different than the group I used to love. And that doesn’t mean you are any better or any worse, it just means that it is impossible to continue to love you like I did before. Impossible to live the once a member, always a member sentiment that was promised.
I miss you, my group. The feeling of existing alongside the friends who made me cry from laughter, the people with whom I watched the stars rise over a volcanic lake. The people who organized concerts and matches, pasta dinners and cast parties. The people who encouraged me to do crazy things, inspirational things, life-changing things.
What I’ve learned though, is that I never loved you. I loved the people who made you.
If the same people were to commune, we are different now than we once were. Oh dear group, the same people that created you back then would not be able to re-create right now who you were, because life has changed us beyond recognition. My beloved group, how I miss you.
Thank you for the time you gave me. Endings are the hardest thing humans have to come to terms with. But with new ends come new beginnings and new groups to temporarily fall in love with.
I hope you give your current members the same experience you gave me. I loved you and I hope they love you just as hard. But I can no longer be a part of you. I can honor and remember who you once were, but I can no longer love you.