Friday, November 13, 2009

Mourning a Friendship

Distance can take a toll on some friendships. In some friendships, I'm the one who moved. I live 10 hours away from some of my closest friends. Others are movers too - and I live half a continent away from each of them - and oddly, they keep in contact the best.

The opportunities to see everyone who has scattered all over the country are rare, so we stay in contact by phone and email. Prior to all these social network advances - it was always mystifying when we found ourselves on the same sofa after years passed - yet it felt as though time hadn't passed at all. Such a beautiful quality of friendship. There are no gaps!

I truly value those friendships in which - even after not speaking for six or nine months, when you do reconnect - neither of you are bitter for the time that passed. You're just happy to connect again, knowing another year may pass before you catch up again - but the connection will always be as warm.

That's part of why I think Facebook is a bit deceiving, as it allows us to feel that we are connected by daily contact when really, we're just sort of eavesdropping. Real connections take effort.

I've come to realize that over the years - some friendships stand the test of time. Other friends are in our lives just for seasons. There is a reason God brings us together. It's not always for
a lifetime, but it always enriches your life. People leave their mark.

Some friends have drifted away. Sometimes it hurts. Other times, years pass before you even realize that someone is no longer in your life. They just sort of fade out - and that's okay.

Twice in my life, friendships have ended because it was the other person's choice and not mine. I had every intention of knowing these women into our old age - but for some reason they are done with me.

Right now I am struggling with the difference between a mutual fade - and being dumped. The difference is, months can pass and when I reach out to reconnect, my efforts are ignored. I have found that I have made three or four attempts in the past year - and received no response. Efforts begin to feel like pleas... and still nothing. It's the lack or response that tears at me.

It makes me wonder. Have I done wrong? Was I hurtful? Are they just preoccupied with their husband and children and all the blessings that we prayed for one another to have? Did I offend?

Or worse.

When someone you love becomes someone you don't know - it can be because of something very painful in their lives that they are not ready or willing to share. Marriage trouble, sick children, dying parents. As their friend you don't want them to struggle. You want to give assistance. You want to be Christ to them.

But that may not even be what is happening. This person is done with me and doesn't feel the need to give a reason.

This time I am really struggling with the rejection.
It seems when someone has shared the intimate details of your life and theirs, that they shouldn't just pull out without a word.
There is a special bitterness that I hate to admit - I poured hours of love and prayers into baby gifts that I sewed for her family. I know it sounds silly but to me that feels like an investment - and it hurts even more to be ignored.

I really want to shake this loose from my heart - but it pulls at me almost daily.

My bloggy friends - tell me - how have you come to terms with the loss of a friend?


Doris said...

I take these things to heart every bit as much as you do. I tend to be the one that makes the efforts, and finally the please before the inevitable acceptance of the loss sets in. I think you put into words very well what most likely's not that we did anything to wrong or hurt them, it's that their lives have changed in a way that they don't wish to share with us, for better or for worse. Continue to pray for their health and happiness, pray for healing in your heart and treasure the friends that still treasure you.

BlueCastle said...

I am sorry for your pain and the death of a friendship, but selfishly, I am glad to know I am not the only one that goes through this. I seem to always find myself in friendships that I have to maintain. If I don't "maintain" it, it dies. Then there are the times, like you write about here, where a friendship has grown distant and I try to renew it only to have a door shut politely in my face.
I think time helps ease these hurts. Time and distance. It's almost like going through a break-up, isn't it? I have felt ridiculous before over how long it took me to "get over" a friend lost. But time helps and I've even come to where I can look at those people and not feel hurt, just glad for the memories of the good times.

I really like what you wrote about FaceBook. I got on there about a year ago and oh, all the old friends I found! But, it doesn't last, in some instances. And it turns into "eavesdropping" as you say. Almost like getting your daily dose of gossip too. My best friendships do not need the help of FB. :)

One more thought, sorry this is so long: I too, make gifts and pour a bit of myself into a friendship by doing and giving. It's painful when you don't reap a benefit or what you want from the relationship, but to keep my sanity, when I do something for someone, I am trying to do it for Jesus. Not for that person, necessarily, but to do it as unto the Lord. Does that make sense? Then I don't feel ripped off so badly. We're told to love, even those who don't return the love, so it's not wasted if we do it with that mind set.

TRS said...

Blue Castle,

Thank you for that final thought... about doing it for Jesus rather than for another. That does help to take the sting away.

Kristin said...

Yep, it definitely hurts when you make the effort and it's not reciprocated. I've struggled with that for years in some realtionships, even with immediate family members--very painful.

But Blue Castle makes a great point that I have tried to apply to certain relationships . Usually, I know that relationship has signficance beyond the immediate enjoyment I could experience if they would just respond in kind. I believe it's important for me to maintain a minimal connection and to reach out to the person in love and with respect even if they seem to ignore me. So, whether friend or family member, if I believe the relationship should be maintained at any level, then I have to act from a place that has nothing to do with what I might get back from the relationship.

I'm sorry for the hurt and sadness you've experienced in these waning relationships.