Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meant to Last

Not all friendships are meant to last forever. This is something I’ve been reminded of in the last year. Several times over, in fact. Yes, even when you’re an adult, the nasty-friend-break-up thing can still happen.

I’m still learning how to choose friends wisely. That’s a little embarrassing. I feel at age 26, I should be better at this, but I’m not. Sometimes I still depend on the wrong people. Sometimes I deceive myself about how close I actually am to a person. When the veils come down on those situations, it’s darn uncomfortable.

And things get really tricky when we’re both Christians. When we’ve both been instructed by God, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

I’m far from an expert on how to handle these situations. Like really far. But here’s what I’ve learned in my last year of losing who I thought was my best friend and struggling to figure out where our relationship should now stand.

Forgiveness can be painful and humbling

That’s why there’s such a temptation to hang onto that anger and seek revenge. Particularly if you feel like you’ve been wronged in the situation. It’s been almost an entire year since we had our tell-all conversation, and I’m still regularly confessing anger to God and asking him to help me forgive.

Demotions are okay

I went from being the first person she called when anything exciting happened, to learning everything through her Facebook status. I found this quite maddening in the beginning. In fact, I cried the first time it happened.

But I’ve since learned that this person and I really don’t work as close friends. We’re not compatible. We are, however, good acquaintances. We both have young kids, and getting together once a month to let the kids play while we drink coffee is a much better arrangement for us. It doesn’t have to be best friends or nothing.

There are two forms of reconciliation

I used to only think of reconciliation in terms of divorce. Like when a separated or divorce couple reconciled, they went back to living like married people. Then, when I was doing Beth Moore’s The Patriarchs study a couple years ago, I learned of another kind.

In Genesis 31, Jacob’s father-in-law has come after him in anger. After the two have “talked it out,” Laban says to Jacob, “This heap is a witness, and this pillar is a witness, that I will not go past this heap to your side to harm you and that you will not go past this heap on my side to harm me.”

They reconcile … but Laban goes his way and Jacob goes his.

Sometimes that’s how it works best for us as well. When you’re in a friendship where you keep hurting each other, when peace is impossible, reconciling and going your separate ways can be a good option.

I think it’s easy to imagine friendship being like those Clean & Clear commercials. You know, how the girls are always giggly, close, and smooth-skinned? But real life is a lot deeper than that, for better and worse.

Hope everyone has enjoyed their weekend!

Stephanie Morrill


Emii said...

Wow, that is so true... when I was younger, that's when my best friends were just a bad influence on me, really. I mean, we were seven years old, and they swore all the time. I'm glad that didn't rub off on me ;)
I'm still connected to them, although I added one of them on Facebook and she didn't even know who I was. Another one, I've caught up with over the years -- but whenever I unblock her on MSN, all she says, EVERYtime is "Wanna catch up the holidays?" That's all our friendship ever was; going over to eachothers houses.

There was another girl at the same time I was frienships; but I always put my "best friends" first. Which, looking back, was a very bad desison. Because this other girl -- Monique, her name was -- was really nice. Athletic, and tall, -- and nice.

A few months ago, I added her on Facebook and she was like, "Hey Emily!" She knew who I was, even though I was even going by Emii on Facebook. I look different now to when I did then. I guess she knew my last name, and remembered, even if it had been 5 years since we'd last seen eachother!

I'm much better at it now; we moved, I became best friends with Alii and Cindy.

We moved again, I'm best friends with Bessie, Hannah, Mikand Kayley now. I love them all!:)

I have to go sing Happy Birthday to my little sister, :)


Roseanna M. White said...

This is always so tough. I've had some bad "breakups" with friends, and it's much like you said. We reconciled but drifted apart. I'm grateful for all we went through together and the childhood we shared, but I'm also so, so grateful for those "low maintenance" friends that I know I can turn to, whether it's been an hour or a year since we last really talked. I think it takes a lot of different types of relationships to create a really beautiful life.

Stephanie said...

Emii, sounds like we've had very similar experiences! And I have relationships like that too, where we just catch up at the holidays. It used to drive me crazy, but I've gotten better about just enjoying whatever contact we have.

I think Roseanna really hit on something with her comment, that there's nothing wrong with having all different types of friendships.

Erica Vetsch said...

Wow, this is really pithy. And so applicable. Sometimes it is hard when you'd like to reconcile and change the relationship, but the other person says it's all or nothing.

And you're right, forgiveness is such a hard thing and one I have to do over and over and over again.

Ann Leveille said...

This post really spoke to me, as I struggled with a similar relationship upheaval over the last year. I did find it particularly difficult because the woman was one of the few church-going women I knew. It was a huge struggle, but we've settled things and now simply go our separate ways when we see each other. It's very interesting to hear that it's a topic Beth Moore has dealt with too, thanks for mentioning that. That study may be the next one I do of hers! Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie said...

Ann, The Patriarchs was my first Beth Moore study and is splendid. I highly recommend it!

Julie Garmon said...

Loved this! Good stuff.