Several years ago, I walked away from a friendship. This person meant the world to me. But for many reasons, there was hurt and frustration. I didn't have the courage I needed to talk it out. Instead, I chose to walk away. It wasn't a typical "falling out" . . . we hadn't had lots of angry words, though there had been some a couple years prior to that, that perhaps we had never settled well.
I have missed this person terribly and believe we both went through a time of mourning. But, it was just too painful, I thought. I need to walk away. Over the years since then, there have been many awkward moments of "running into each other". Spokane isn't that large a town and we do have a lot of friends and acquiantances in common. As we would get ready to attend a wedding, funeral or social event, I would often wonder if my old friend would be there and if so, how I should act. When we did run into each other, we were always kind and cordial, even friendly. But the awkwardness was overwhelming.
As time went on, I begin to wonder . . . was it worth walking away? Was it really things we couldn't have talked out? Didn't I love her enough to allow her some failures or mistakes? Was I owning up to my own failures and mistakes?
As I look back on it now, I realize we were both at a bad place . . . insecurities led to competing rather than supporting. Low self-esteem led to questioning each others hearts and motives. We were both strong personalitys with a common trait of stubbornness. I didn't think she cared enough, wanted well for me. But did I care enough? Want only the best for her?
As women our friendships can be so confusing. When I observe my husband with his friends it is so different. They simply are who they are. They don't say one thing and mean another. They tell it like it is and they can take it or leave it. If ever they are upset with each other, it passes almost instantaneously and they remember it no more.
As women we tend to put double meanings to everything. To read something into a tone, a look, or simply silence. We doubt we can trust the person, even though at the same time we share intimate life issues with them. We have our own tendencies to not be trustworthy, though we would never admit it to them, so we assume the same of them. If we don't like ourselves, we don't expect them to like us either.
This week odd circumstances changed all that. I think it was God saying, "Okay girls, enough is enough! Move on!
My friend was looking for furniture on Craigslist this past week and happened upon some of my listings. There was a link that led her to my blog. She felt the familiar twinge we had both come to know and wondered . . . should I call her?
I was playing on pinterest late one evening and got a notice that she had "repinned" one of my pins. I wasn't even sure it was the same person, so I followed the link and soon discovered that it was indeed my long lost friend. I too wondered . . . do I call her?
So I sent her a message. Typing a message somehow seemed less "scary" than calling her. Within a few minutes my phone rang. When her name showed up on my caller ID, I felt panic. I didn't know what to say or how to respond. So I guiltily let it ring. Then I listened to the voicemail. The voice of my old friend, someone who had once been a daily part of my life. She told me how she missed me and thought of my all the time. I teared up as I listened to the short message.
It took about an hour until I got up the courage to call her back. Luckily she didn't ask why I hadn't answered and I hoped she had just assumed I was busy when she called. With my heart pounding, I called her up. She answered and we instantly had a sense of connection. Perhaps with a bit of awkwardness, but a connection nonetheless. I decided to take a brave step. "Would you like to get together and just catch up?" I asked. She immediately said yes.
A couple days later, as she sat in my home having lunch and we shared some of the changes, the joys and the hurts in our lives, I wondered . . . why did we lose this? We talked until we were both running late for commitments we had made for the evening. We didn't want to stop. We wanted to reconnect. She was my old friend . .. she is my friend. I have always loved her and even through the pain, I realized I never stopped. I know she was feeling the same thing.
The things that have always been easy about our friendship were still there . . . we both love to decorate, to go junking, to spend time nesting and making our homes a "haven" without spending a lot of money. I am more artsy than she is, but she is much more gifted in the kitchen. She is a little bit cosmo and I am a little bit country. We loved these things about our friendship. The hours we spent garage saling with the kids in tow and the times we spent crafting together at our dining room tables were times I have always cherished. In our early years of motherhood, daily chats on the phone were our life-line. We thought so much alike. If someone annoyed me, I knew they would annoy her too. If I was amused by something, I knew she would see the humor as well. We were frick and frack . . . peanut butter and jelly.
We talked a little about a year ago. I shared some of my issues and she shared some of hers. But now I realize it really isn't about going back and trying to assign blame. It isn't about declaring who hurt who. I believe everything happens for a reason. Perhaps God used this season in our lives to grow us both up a bit, to take our focus off of ourselves, off of an unhealthy friendship, and instead turn to Him. As I sat and watched my friend the other day, I realized I loved her. It doesn't matter what has happened. It doesn't matter what I may have thought or felt, or what she may have thought or felt. We both hurt each other. We both failed each other. But what matters now is moving forward . . . now we need to have a "falling back in."
Our falling out is something that tought us lessons and made us grow, painful or not. But now, coming back together is something that can grow us in other ways. I don't expect it to be the same friendship it was. While our basic interests and personalities are still the same, we have both grown and changed. We are at totally different places in our lives now. But I am excited to see what God has in store for our friendship. I have no expectations . . . but I do have anticipation.
I won't go back. Rehashing it is of no use and is not healthy. We need to move forward from here. To be the Godly, forgiving, loving women I know we both desire to be. If you are reading this blog post, my long lost friend, I hope you know I love you. I have missed you, mourned for you. And now, I look forward to the years to come . . . as we "fall back in" and become the friends were were always meant to be.
Is there someone in your life that perhaps you have had a "falling out with?" Someone that you walked away from? Was there hurt that seemed too big to fix? I pray you will take it to God. Perhaps you do need a season of healing. I believe we both did. But we were not made to live lifes of unforgiveness, of bitterness, of regret. The day will come you will need to make it right. I pray when that moment comes, you will have the courage and conscience to do just that. Fall back in . . . it is a great direction to fall!