I was planning out this week’s posts and ended up looking back at a few pieces I wrote as journal entries more so than blog posts. I found this one in particular that I wrote last year. Upon reading I thought it may be a little personal to share (since it was a reflection) but then I got to thinking. Maybe someone else can relate to the lessons I shared in this entry. Or maybe someone is currently going through friendship changes and trying to make sense of it all. Either way, if it can help someone else there’s no use in it sitting idle in a notebook. 🙂 Much of my reflection was based on personal experience. However, I also kept finding myself having conversations with women my age who expressed similar thoughts and concerns. That’s when I took pen to paper as you see below. Hope you enjoy…
July 2, 2015
Throughout my upbringing I have always been taught that friendships will come and go throughout one’s lifetime. Phrases like “Some people come into your life for a reason and a season” or “You have to learn to let people go” were constant reminders in church, at home and from older, wiser sources. While I saw examples of how this could be true through the lives of others, I thought it would be limited in my own. I figured that I would lose acquaintances throughout life. But good, close friends…in my mind, I knew that they would be around for forever. I pictured hanging with long time buddies in luxury rocking chairs while watching our grandchildren play and reminisce on the fun times of our younger days. There are still some close friends that I can have that with. Though in the last couple of years I’ve realized that this may not be the case for every close friendship I’ll have in my lifetime.
Many friendships have changed. Some re-categorized to strong acquaintanceships and others have grown completely apart only to be connected by an occasional greeting card or notification of a life event. On the flip side, I’ve seen the people I’ve least expected step up and show me the greatest support. Life is truly funny.
I’ve always been the “networker” in many of my friendships. The one who sends the reminder when a “catch up” lunch or happy hour is overdue. The human calendar of sorts that sends an alert that our last meeting was 2 months too long ago. And I’m okay with that because I truly enjoy this role and feel comfortable being the networker. But recently I’ve had to challenge myself to let others do the work. Not because I wanted to be the taker and avoid being the giver. But because, in my mind, if we’re friends and I’m important to you then I expect that you should initiate a girls brunch every now and then. If you’re a close friend, the expectation will be even higher.
Now don’t get me wrong, we’re all busy. And sometimes these things slip our minds. (Me included.) But as the old saying goes “You make time for what’s important to you”. When I learned to step back I was able to decipher those who sincerely got busy but meant well versus those who I just needed to stop holding to such a high level of expectation. The later maybe even needing to be loved at a distance. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
I’ve come to realize that these can be bittersweet moments. Bitter because friendships have been lost that were years in the making. Sweet because those loses may have been signs of a new chapter. Through these severed ties I’ve grown creatively, encouraged myself to work on business ideas, grow in my faith walk, come in touch with my true self and so much more. Not that I think those friendships would have blocked such growth but apparently God knows something I don’t. Actually, He knows a lot that I don’t.
At the same time I’ve grown more appreciative of those that surprised me and stepped up to the plate to support. I’ve grown to realize not just how they can enhance my growth through our friendships. But more importantly, how I can enhance theirs. Because as you grow, you realize that reciprocity lends to well-balanced relationships.
While it is comfortable to hold on to the friendships that got us through so many phases and stages, it’s not always meant to be for those relationships to continue. And always for a reason – always. God wants to introduce new relationships to see us through new chapters and bring in resources that will birth incredible blessings.
What are some of the ways you’ve grown in your friendships (either together or apart)? Do you have any reflections on friendships that you’ve come to think through further as you’ve aged?