Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seasons of Friendship

She drank diet Coke and I ate peach gummis, in our effort to stave off hunger, arms with fresh cuts laid bare in the privacy of our individual apartments where onlookers couldn't stare. She chain smoked, I hacked while she did. We spent hours watching movies that gave false notions of true love, longing for it, even as we spewed the hate and anger that kept us from all healthy relationships.

I understood her. She understood me.

No one got us, like we got each other. We fed off each other, as the ugliness resounded in the mirrors of our hears and instead of encouraging each other to greatness we instilled greater sickness in each other's lives.

Until the day we attended the revival service.

And the speaker spoke directly to both of us but only one of us went forward.


While I was surrounded with women who prayed for me and with me at the altar, doing mighty battle to lay it all down, she escaped to the parking lot of a smoke and a Diet Coke. And that night we parted ways, as I left forever changed from surrender and the liberation of the chains that had bound me and she walked away with her chains still dragging her down into so much less than she was created to be. 

I run into her sometimes, the last time, last summer. The long sleeves hid her recent self-destruction activity on her arms as well as kept the fragile bones warm. Her face was gaunt and yellow and bitterness and old age shown out from eyes long dimmed by anorexia and self-abuse. My sleeves were shoved up as I wrestled my toddler, scars visible but white instead of raw and red, and I'm sure my face was flushed, even as I laughed at my son who was grabbing my face and kissing me while I looked at him and told him he was making my life miserable as I shopped.

Our battles still wage.

Mine has not ceased but rather, waits to greet me at some point every day.

After a meal, sometimes before. When rejection comes in the form of critical words, an assumption on my character, or a snubbed invitation. When Handsome and I fight or after we go out to eat at a buffet. When I step on the scale or I screw up with  my kids. The old obsessions are never far away, taunting and a;ways inviting me back with false promises of relief.

The thoughts push her to bend, mine push me to run to the One who takes them into His captivity.

The lies are her truth, while the lies shine the strength of the Truth into my soul.

She gives in, I fight.

Her battle is her identity. My battle is what displays my identity as a woman redeemed by grace who can say with utter joy coupled with greatly humbled awe "The battle is always there but God is bigger!"


They ebb and flow as lives change--or not.

Some changes rip our hearts apart. They make choices we can't support and we stand in absolute confusion as the one we love as our own soul, becomes a person we don't recognize, leaving a trail of destruction both to themselves and others in their wake of actions.  The depth of friendship requires our honesty as we expressed our deep concern, only to have them turn in anger and walk away without a backward glance. Some, they spill the unfair lies about us in an effort to justify themselves to the public and we are scorned publically for our "betrayal", even as privately we know the truth of the why's and the heart of love and worry that prompted the pleas for them to consider their choices.  

Others, our hearts have been knit with closely for years and it never occurred that perhaps it wasn't forever. But suddenly, one day, we realize, it isn't forever. Walls have slowly been built between the hearts once in complete, unobstructed proximity to each other and the only gaze we have over them is a distant one in passing. Perhaps it's simply the passage of time with busy schedules or even new friendships that enter our lives unsought but unepxected in their loveliness. It wasn't wanted but it happened and it happened before we even knew.

It can be as simplistic as you chose home school, they chose public, and those two worlds ricochet apart as the kid's activities take over with each. More complicated than that sometimes, is a job change that took them cross country and into brand new relationships or the pursuit of a career path while the other became a stay at home parent.

And sometimes the radical takes place in your own life, as it did mine, severing the heart ties quickly and completely in a single moment. To put them back into place would be to return to a life held you captive to the fullness of joy and the promise of the dreams given.

The cause of severence varies but the result is the same. The season of closeness is over.  Forever or for a brief moment in the grand scheme? Only the passage of time can reveal. But for now, today, this moment, it no longer exists.

Nostalgia may brood with tears of sorrow, as triggers to memories come and as we recall the precious moments of friendship now receded. We can linger in the regret of that which is passed and which we miss or we can clasp tightly the treasures of memory and whisper gratefulness we were allowed them. And when we miss with an ache that pains our chest, we acknowledge the season past and that the common ground which once gave the soil for the relationship has shifted and coursed into a new path and we have to follow it or we deny our destiny.

An ending does not negate the treasure of what once was. It is forever a part of who we are and the role it played, is vital to the person that steps into the morning of today. For whether positive or even negative, it revealed places of our hearts only that this particular relationship could reveal and grew us into more than we were when it began and the person we are because it ended.


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