After returning to South Florida following several back-to-back weeks of traveling, I’ve got a heavy heart in regards to friendships.
We all have family, we either adore them, tolerate them, despise them and the list goes on. When it comes to friendships, they are usually a mature result from starting as knowing someone as an acquaintance, friend-of-a-friend, colleague, work-mate and so on. Difference is simple: we’re born into families, it’s friends that we can choose in life.
When various seasons of life befall us, it’s usually a hands-on-deck type transition and we all hope and pray that our friends will stand by us or at least keep talking to us even if it seems like all of sudden we have nothing in common.
For those of you who are reading this, if you are a parent you may be particularly sensitive to my tone already. If you are a DINK (double income no kids), then you possibly may know where I’m going if you have a lot of single friends and other friends with tons of children. If you are single, perhaps you understand this pain more than any of the above.
The pain I’m referring to what can be felt during the endurance-action phase of a friendship when the two parties are in completely different time zones, planets, maybe even opposite galaxies in the universe.
In the last few weeks, I’ve had several clashes in understanding another with separate friends. Without naming anyone I can honestly say that looking back at the situations, I admit I may have been in the wrong but certainly never intended to hurt/insult/ignore/lose touch…et cetera.
One recent acquaintance of mine has two children under the age of four right now. She told me, “When you become a parent, you’re not the captain of your ship anymore”. I couldn’t say it better.
At the same time, I grieve for the fact that while I am immersed in my current status as “married with child” plus all the specific responsibilities on me, I seem to lose touch or empathy for those beloved friends of mine who are in such different stages from me. Neither is in a better or more mature place, it’s just DIFFERENT and difficult to catch each other in appropriate conversation or give the necessary attention.
I insulted someone because I couldn’t pay more attention to them while my toddler son was running a 103 degree fever at a social function…it devastated me that they were so hurt and left before I could properly pay them their due respect. When you’re a mother you hardly are able to wash your hair enough or keep your nails pretty or make your husband happy—basically the deck of cards is stacked up and taller than Mt. Everest when you’re a parent.
In the past year I lost touch with a friend of over a decade because we were on such opposite spectrums of life for a moment in time as well as opposite sides of the continent. It tears me apart inside now that I missed major moments of joy as well as sorrow in her life that I would gladly desire to walk beside through but just couldn’t.
Then there are those I’ve weathered every possible ‘weirdness factor’ and we are still friends for life and I don’t doubt that we always will be.
A beloved friend of mine finally ‘came out’ to me in the past year and though we hadn’t spoken in so many years, we picked up where we left off as if nothing ever happened. I expect us to sip that metamucil mimosa one day as old farts in our eighties on some beach cottage porch together.
Another friend and I have seen her through singleness, courtship, engagement and finally married to settling in their own new home and by God’s will a family to boot in the future. What a joy and peace I feel as we have seen each other through thick and thin, even our own disagreements with each other.
I share these tidbits from countless others to demonstrate that there is a way for us to continue our relationships in life through even the most drastic of seasons…however, it does take two to help give it strength to grow and sometimes as much as it hurts, we must let go of a friendship if it cannot be nurtured.
Again, I admit that unfortunately I’m not the greatest friend. It was one thing when I married my husband, it took me a couple of years to get into the swing of being aware of my friends’ needs. When I became a mother, I could hardly keep up with sensing what my husband and family needed, let alone my friends.
Any friends of mine reading this, I hope I’ve personally apologized to you whenever I’ve slighted or downright hurt you in present or past. If not, please forgive me for that and additionally for having to write it in a website blog post as it is impersonal and perhaps downright tacky.
Alas, I am R.V.S.B., a fallen soul like the rest on Earth that keeps trying to learn how to love God and my fellow souls better.