Saturday, October 1, 2016

On friends who leave and the ones who stay.

How's this for weird? Go a month and a half without posting, and then have two posts in less than twelve hours. I'm an enigma.

I've been awake all night for numerous reasons, one of them being the unexplainable outrageous heartburn that will not leave me alone even when I'm laying in my recliner, and considering it's now early the next morning, let's just say that I've got a lot in my head.

For some bizarre reason, I've been thinking about the friends I've lost in the past couple of years. Or should I say "friends," because as Clayton says, friends who leave you were likely never real friends to begin with.

It's funny how when certain people are in your life, you can feel so certain that it's a good friendship, a solid friendship. You can feel confident that this is a person you can trust and that they will be in your life for a long time. You can believe 100% that you've found someone special, you can be so grateful and consider them and the friendship such blessings, and then boom.

You find out you're wrong.

So wrong.

So heartbreakingly wrong.

I can think of four people in just the past year and a half that this has happened with. I'm not gonna name names; that's not important. One of them, I know that I screwed up, but they promised me that they just needed space and we weren't done for good - nearly 8 months later, and I'm having a hard time still believing that.

The other three, though? Not a clue. No fight. No explanation. I just woke up one day and they...weren't there anymore. Each time, I've gone through the same process of wondering what I did to make it happen, what is so wrong with me that I made them leave, before remembering the beautiful truth that their decision to hurt me and leave without a word is on them, not me.  With the last person, I'm still working through that process. It's really recent.

I am a sensitive person. I feel things very intensely. I am full of second chances. I have a very hard time letting go, even when the other person already has. I know all of these things about myself, as well as the trouble these characteristics have gotten me into. But you know what? I'm not sorry for any of them. They make me the friend that I am to so many people who love and appreciate me just as I am.

The problem is, though, it's that last trait I listed that leads me to this blog post. It's been seventeen months, eleven months, and nearly eight months, (and six weeks,) and these people are still in my head. Instead of focusing on the friends that are here and have shown me so much love and support, my mind gets caught up in thinking about these people who didn't want to stick around. If there's anything I've learned in the past few years, really since I met my soccer boys, it's that I am worth more than needing to beg someone to stay and be my friend. I have found my dignity. And so it's not that I want to go and beg these people to come back so much as it is that I just want to know what happened. That's what drives me nuts. The question-filled silence echoes in my head like a monster waiting to attack as soon as my world quiets down.

But you know how I also said that I am full of second chances? What does it say about my view of my own dignity to know that if any one of these people were to come back, explain what happened, and ask for a second chance, I would welcome them back with open arms? I can tell you that now, even though the chances of any of them doing so are slim. I hate losing people, and memories, and I think it's because I hold on to the memories of when things were good with me and these four specific people that I want to get back to that. When things were good, they were really good, and I naively never expected to be smacked in the face with just how flawed they (and people in general) are.

I know it's possible, though. I know that it's possible to restore friendships that seem hopelessly lost. I know that because that happened this year, too. Things between me and another friend fell apart in an incredibly painful fashion, and when we stopped speaking, I really thought that was the end. A good while later, however, I did what I pretty much always do and reached out because I missed them and wanted to see if the bridge was completely burned...and they called me back. And we talked. And we came to a new understanding in our friendship. Now, several months after that, we both agree that while the three months that we weren't speaking were something neither of us would choose to relive, it made our friendship stronger, and reminded us of why we became friends in the first place. Yes, my guard is up more than usual. No, I haven't completely forgotten everything that happened. But at the end of the day, when we talk, I can feel the bond that we have, the bond that withstood the pain and fights and frustration, the bond we always said no one could break. And I'm so thankful to have my friend back, even if it is a new and slightly different chapter.

So yes, I know it's possible for any or all of those four people to come back into my life, but as I've gotten older I've learned the dangers of getting my hopes up when so little in this life is actually in my control. And other people's thoughts and actions are about as far out of my control as something can get.

So in the meantime, I hurt.

And I grieve.

And I question how long I'm going to keep grieving and whether or not I should still be grieving.

But I also remind myself of all the incredible friends I do have in my life. The ones who have prayed for and with me as I have faced health scares and surgeries. The ones who pick up the phone when I need them, even if it's just because I need to hear someone say they love me. The ones who take time out of their day to make me laugh when they know I need it, or to listen to me vent and cry when there's nothing else they can do. The ones who lift me up with their words of love, encouragement, and grace. The ones who are still here, who see me with all my flaws and know that I'm loving them the very best I know how.

But most importantly, I remember the love that I carry with me every second of every day that cannot be replaced - the love of my Father. The God who made me as I am on purpose and for a purpose. The One who sees me as nothing less than His princess, a masterpiece made in His image, clean, righteous, and beloved. The God whom I don't have to impress. The Father who will never love me more or less, no matter what. The One in whom I find rest from the heartache. The Father who promises that He works all things for my good. The God who promises that in Him, and in a relationship with Him, He makes me enough, no matter what anyone else says.

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