Sunday, October 13, 2013

a heart abandoned

This is a follow-up to a previous post of mine entitled "The Danger of Love."

I have never been able to keep a best friend. Ever. No matter how close we are, and no matter how much I believe that they are a "forever friend", at some point or  another, something happens, and they always walk out.

My first best friend was not until I got to the third grade. We survived being in separate schools for two years, but we somehow managed to drift apart once we got to university. A few years ago, we finally talked about what had gone wrong, but the damage was done. Although we occasionally communicate via facebook, we live in different cities, have completely different friends, and are in different stages of life. Though I am finally at peace with that, sadly, we will never re-capture the friendship we once had.

A few years later, I made some new best friends. My first bestie and I got together every.single.week without fail. I spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter with her family. They were like my second family. Often, their home felt more like home than mine did. We were beach buddies, and workout buddies. We went to countless movies, walked endless miles, and talked about everything imaginable. She was supposed to be my Maid of Honour. We were inseparable for three years. Until she walked out. 

I never knew exactly what went wrong. Maybe I overstepped talking about my faith one day. Maybe it was because I reached out to someone she didn't particularly like who happened to be going through a difficult time. Maybe it was because she was dissatisfied with the direction her life was taking, and took it out on me. Maybe it was all of the above. I don't think I will ever know the reason. All I know is that in a matter of a week, we went from being best friends, to never speaking again. And even though it's been three years, the pain is still fresh. 

My other best friend walked me through quite a lot of stuff, and provided encouragement, laughter, and advice for several years. We'd remained quite close, despite dating other people throughout the course of our friendship. After I got engaged, he even offered to be the one to give me away on my wedding day. Although I was touched at the gesture, in hindsight, I'm glad I didn't take him up on it. Because the last real conversation we had was at my wedding. 

Although other friends have suggested reasons and formed opinions as to why he walked out, I don't think I will ever fully know why. And not for lack of me trying. In spite of knowing that I was hurt, he made it clear that he didn't have the time or desire to continue a meaningful friendship. While friendships with the opposite sex are always tricky, especially after one party gets married, I never once considered that a legitimate reason to walk out. I still don't.

Then I had two mentors walk out. Two women who had taken me under their wings, who had loved on me and mothered me. Women who I dared to share my whole heart with, women I trusted completely. Women who I came to rely on for wisdom, advice, encouragement, and validation. Women who in all honestly, knowing my brokenness and my abandonment issues, should have never walked out the way they did. But they did. 

Words have been exchanged and apologies have been made, but neither are currently part of my life in the way I envisioned that they would be. 
Broken promises are not easily forgotten. Trust is not easily regained. Friendships are not easily repaired.

Finally, there's my most recent best friend. I wouldn't say that she's completely abandoned me, but some days it feels like it. She literally lives right around the corner, and we haven't talked in over a month. Granted, she does have legitimate reasons: Multiple other best friends. A boyfriend. She lives a ridiculously busy life. We no longer attend the same church. But I miss her. And it hurts to see her slip away. Just like all the others. After going through three best friends in a lifetime, I can't say I have high hopes about keeping another. At least not to the extent that I would like. I miss having regular Girls' Nights, phone dates, dinners out. I miss being an important part of her life. I miss her.

If any of my ex-best friends are reading this, know this: Perhaps in your mind, the choice to walk away was valid. (I completely disagree, but I admit that I cannot see the whole picture and do not know all the circumstances that led to your decision.) Nonetheless, I want you to know that your choice caused me great pain. And great shame. Because when you lose as many best friends as I have, you have to wonder: Is there something wrong with me?  Am I not good enough? What did I do wrong? You come to believe there is something profoundly defective about you. But while I no longer hold out hope of ever being close friends with you again, I choose to forgive you.

I received this in an email a long time ago, quoted it in a previous blog post, but I'll share it again:
"When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die, sometimes the walk away, sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered, and now it is time to move on.

“Some people come into your life for a season, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it—it is real. But only for a season.

"Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.”

Despite all the best friends I've lost, there have been a few loyal friends who have stuck by me, though thick and thin. For every friendship that ended, another was forged. For every friend who lied, gossiped, and betrayed me, I can count another who was truthful, encouraging, and loyal. While many of my friendships have been of the reason variety, I dare to hope that a few of them will be for a lifetime. 

If you have been abandoned by a best friend, it is my deepest prayer that you will find hope in the hurt. May you find the courage and strength to choose to live with your heart open, in spite of the pain!

***********If you are grieving the loss of a friend, 
check out another post  of mine entitled "The Grieving Heart."*********

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