Saying Goodbye to a Friendship

19 Jun

There is no easy way to do that, is there?  

It happens to all of us every once in a while.

Even people like me who, through multiple military moves all over the U.S. and Europe, managed to stay plugged in to some of my high school and college friends (more of them now that Facebook has been invented!!!).  

Truth be known, I collect friends.  I have never voluntarily walked away from anyone (I did, at one point, distance myself for a while from a woman I was mentoring who was pretending to be a totally different person than she actually was.  Playing that game with her wasn’t helping anyone.  And finding out she was deceiving her husband, along with me, took a while to digest).

 

But, the fact is that friendship is voluntary and even those of us who don’t fire our friends may find ourselves being fired.  A part of life.

That does not ease the heartbreak when it happens.

It might be because the friend did not agree with a decision we made and felt she had to withdraw from us in protest.

It might be due to a clumsy action, or clumsy words, that were misconstrued and which the friend felt could not be overcome within the context of friendship.  He might feel he simply can’t forgive us.

It might be due to a firefight between two other people where sides are being chosen up and we are just part of the collateral damage.

That last one is a most unfortunate case, in my opinion, because it is hard to not struggle with bitterness when it turns out that a good friendship ends due to someone else giving the friend an ultimatum.   

I mean, it just brings back memories of middle school if someone asks your friend to drop you and she seemingly responds “Okay, whatever you want”!  

And, truthfully, many middle schoolers don’t even drop friends on command.  I have heard more than one young person stand up to an ultimatum by saying, “I am sorry you don’t like A, but I do like A.  I am remaining friends with her.  You will have to decide what you are going to do about that, because I am not making any changes.”  

But . . . we don’t own our friends–they get to choose their actions.  Even actions that seem like they belong in middle school.

And friendships end because people change.  Even when we are not the one who changed.

The decision we have at such a time is between bitterness and letting God grow us in the loss of that friendship.  He has promised that all things work together for good for those of us who love Him.  That is all things.  No restrictions.

He will heal our heartbreak over lost friendship and He will also fill those holes in our soul where that person’s influence used to dwell.  Face it, we are not islands and we do well to let others into our hearts, even when they leave parts of them shredded when they depart.

The thing we most don’t want to do, when facing loss of friendship, is vow that we will never let anyone that close again.  When we close ourselves off, we may avoid some painful situations, but we stop being fully human and fully alive, too.

Yes, friendships are, and will always be, a risk.

We will have times we need to draw back and grieve over times we once knew that are no more. 

But, in God, we will survive those times intact, and be even stronger than before.  

He is with us, always.

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2 Responses to “Saying Goodbye to a Friendship”

  1. Monica June 19, 2013 at 4:10 PM #

    Sometimes it seems as though your friendship is lost. Hang in there, because the reason could be…your friend is going through a very difficult time and does not know how to include you at the present. Stay with them through prayer and contac them when they are ready. This worked for me.

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