My sister is a very wise woman. She will deny it, but that is only because she’s humble, too. She taught me something a few years ago that has helped my change-resistant soul accept the most painful of changes. It’s all about letting friendships go.
It seems there are some friendships that last no matter what and some that despite your best intentions or ardent affection toward a person, just fizzle. As far as relationships that you just can’t kill despite time or distance, I have a dear friend (that would be you, Lauren) with whom I still keep in touch these 20 years since we moved out of Washington. She lives in Texas now and we still make it a point to try to get together once a year. That relationship will never fizzle. But I’ve had several that had fizzzled and they cause me heartache. Another friend from my days in Washington DC was fun and funny and we had a blast together. And when she married and moved, I wrote to her. She responded for a while but then stopped altogether. I called, but she said she spent all day on the phone and didn’t like to talk on it after work. So, if she was too busy to write and was also disinterested in my calls, that pretty much left us nowhere. I left the effort up to her and she made none. I was crushed. And quite frankly, a little bit angry.
It may be time for me to admit here that I have some insecurities. At the same time, while it may seem quite contradictory, I’ve developed a significant amount of pride. After years of believing I was not good enough and saw myself in a rather low light…well, to put it bluntly, I found Jesus. (That’s trite. He’d been there all the time.) What I mean to say is that I started believing in His love for me and in the fact that I didn’t have to earn it. Therefore, if I am good enough for the King of Kings, then what some puny human thought of me was of no consequence. I still want very desperately to be liked by puny humans, however, if someone doesn’t like a person as sweet and fun and all-around awesome as ME, then there is something wrong with THEM. So needless to say, when this friend just sort of dumped me because I was inconvenient to stay in touch with, I was insulted. Then I realized the flaw was with her.
Much to my horror, it happened again a few years later. And again. And again. I was beginninig to sense a pattern here! When I had just about reached my breaking point, the Soothsayer Sister known as Laura told me she totally understood. Now, I’m not trying to make Laura take the credit for this, because I think someone else shared it with her first, but she was smart enough to share it with me. She said, “Claire, sometimes friends are meant to be in your life for just a season. Sometimes that season ends. You let it go and you move on.”
How liberating! Seriously? That’s all there is to it? No hard feelings? No big fights or telling people off? Wow. It’s still not easy, but it’s a heck of a lot easier when it doesn’t get ugly.
I will also admit here that I am not only the dump-ee and the victim of friendships for which seasons have passed. I’ve used this wisdom to realize for myself that it’s time to move on because I was doing damage to the other person or to myself by trying to hang on. I know I’ve hurt people and I regret the hurt I’ve caused them. By the same token, I don’t intend to linger and be untrue. At times it’s as easy as letting that person stop calling or writing or emailing because it may be their choice to let me go as well. Maybe I shouldn’t say easy – I should say effortless. It still pains me to think of those friends I’ve let slide out of my life when I haven’t wanted them to.
So, thank you to my sister for helping me understand that not everything is meant to last forever – even those things and people we hold dear. And not everything that you love and let go will come back to you, even if you believe it was meant to be…that’s a lot of nonsense. Love the time you had, let the person go, hang onto the happy stuff. And if they’re dumb enough to let YOU go, remember that the flaw is definitely with THEM.