Sunday, June 25, 2017

a heart abandoned - part 3

In previous posts, (here and here), I've written about the pain of being abandoned by people who were important to me. I also wrote about my inability to keep a best friend and how I thought it was happening to me all over again. After our respective marriages, we'd started drifting apart. Instead of talking weekly (or more), it became monthly (or less). When we saw each other a few times in person, it seemed like things weren't the same. 

For most people, having friendships that may go through long periods of time without much/any communication, is perfectly okay. Most people recognize that we all go through different seasons in life, where friendships ebb and flow and after months or sometimes years, you can pick up right where you left off. However, when you go through so many best friends in your lifetime, you start to think something is fundamentally wrong with you and how you relate/come across to people. And when you have such limited contact with someone who was once so close, it hurts. 

When I got pregnant, I wanted so desperately to call and tell her; I deliberately didn't. After so much time without contact, I let her find out on Facebook, just like every other acquaintance. That was a low blow on my part, and, regardless of whether we hadn't spoken in months, I knew would hurt her. But I wanted her to hurt, just like I was hurting. I was petty and selfish and stupid, but hurting people hurt others.

In the midst of all this, I received a letter out of the blue from someone else. They had asked for my forgiveness for a misunderstanding that had caused nearly 15 years of tension and awkwardness. We both deeply regretted that it had taken us so long to clear the air.  I acknowledged my harmful tendency to write people off when they hurt or offended me in some way--my "abandon them before they abandon me" mindset. In my reply to the letter, I explained how I was currently feeling hurt and rejected by this other friend. I recall commenting that the timing of this letter seemed perfect, and in the closing portion of my reply I'd written: "I am not sure she has any idea of my true feelings towards her [but] I am starting to think that God might be using the lesson from our situation to speak into my life about this other friendship."

I now had every intention of addressing the situation at hand, but when she surprised me by attending my baby shower, part of me actually believed that she still cared and valued our friendship. I held out hope that things were turning around for us, especially when she sent me a sweet message after our daughter was born. I replied as soon as I could, gave her some details on the birth, and made sure to tell her I'd love to visit, once I was getting more sleep.

And then I waited. 

Weeks went by. Then months.

My old insecurities reared their ugly head. I started to believe the voices that whispered: 

You must have done/said something to offend her. 

This friendship has always been one-sided and you are not a priority to her.

You're not worth her time or effort.

You've been replaced. 

You can't trust her with your heart.

Because of my own insecurities and root of rejection, I let my stubbornness and stupid pride get the best of me. I refused to message her again. I told myself if she couldn't pick up the phone and call or text me, then I didn't want anything to do with her. I completely forgot the lesson I'd just learned. Instead, I let my hurt fester into anger to the point where I told myself I didn't care if I ever spoke or saw her again. 

I believed all the lies in my head; but no matter how hard I tried, I could never quite forget her.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was getting ready to celebrate my daughter's 1st birthday but it was also nearing the anniversary of last time I'd heard from my friend. After all this time, I told myself I didn't want her friendship, but I did want answers. I needed to know why.  Why hadn't she responded to me? Had I done something irredeemable? Was our friendship truly not worth her time? I needed to know once and for all what I did, so I didn't make that mistake again. I needed closure.

And so, I finally swallowed my pride, and sat down to write her. It didn't come easily at first, but gradually I was able to put years' worth of hurt into words. It was blunt. It was raw. But for the first time, I felt like a giant weight had been lifted.

And I finally got a response. 

It was not what I expected. She had somehow missed reading my previous message from a year ago, and so in her mind, I had ignored her message. I felt like a jerk. Now, after finding the missed message, she felt like a jerk. Long story short, we both had our own insecurities and reasons for letting so much time pass but it was never our intention to end the friendship. So now we were both feeling like jerks, but then I was reminded, "The ENEMY is a jerk!"

You know what? He is a jerk! The Bible tells us Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).What better way to steal a new mom's self-worth and joy, than to kill her friendships? What better way to further isolate her from the outside world than to use a stupid misunderstanding? What better way to destroy her support systems than to make her think she had none? 

And so, after heartfelt apologies from both of us, and a couple of late nights of messaging after our kids were in bed,  we finally made plans to see each other in person for the first time in 14 months. While I don't know if we will ever be able to make up for the lost time, we finally sat down together last week, and it was wonderful! I am so grateful for this second chance. 

My heart has not been abandoned at all this time; indeed, it is quite full.