A good while back I lost a friend! In fact it was one of my best friends. I am not really sure what happened, and this has been one of the most difficult parts of the whole thing! I asked if there was something I had done, because I was more than willing to face up to it, admit it, seek forgiveness and begin the process of rebuilding, but was told there was nothing. I know it takes two to make and keep a friendship and I know I am responsible for at least half of this one falling apart.
It just did not make any sense! One week we were talking, enjoying life together and the next week “BAM” nothing! We still talk from time to time, but it is just not the same and I feel absolutely powerless to do anything about it. It has been several months and I have worked through the hardest part of this – I think! I truly do miss the friendship more than words can say, but I know that life for both of us has to go forward.
A couple of weeks ago, I was cutting grass, where I do some of my best thinking and listening to the Lord! I was thinking about this lost friendship and the emotional roller coaster that I had been on for the past few months and I finally accepted the fact that the friendship was over at least from the “best friend” status. It’s not that we are not friends, we are, well kinda – it’s really more like acquaintances now. It’s not that I don’t want to be a friend, it’s just that it takes two and even then, it’s a lot of hard work and it just seems that the other person is not really interested!
As I was thinking back over the conversation and interaction that I had with this person after the changing/ending of the friendship, I realized that I had said, thought and acted in some unfriendly ways over the past few months. I really miss the friendship and it hurts my heart that it had to die! That’s it – Our friendship had died! I had not been able to get a grasp on it until now, but this was the emotional roller coaster that I had been riding on!
I remember in seminary learning about the Kubler-Ross Model or the Five Stages Of Grief. I actually had to travel through each of these stages to accept what had happened with this friendship. On this day of cutting grass and thinking – I began to complete the final stage – ACCEPTANCE!
Here are the stages that I travelled through upon the ending/death of the “best friendship”: (BTW – I had no idea that I was working my way through these stages as it was happening. In fact, there were some days that I had no idea what was happening to me!)
Stage One – Denial & Isolation! At first, I just could not believe it! In fact, I refused to believe it. I thought this is just a phase – we have been through too much together. We will get through this (whatever this is)! I tried to block out that something was wrong. I just wanted to ignore it, with the hopes that it would go away and things would return back to normal. I eventually began to isolate myself and try to not allow myself to be in situations that required my thinking about it! I eventually moved out of this stage and into the next one!
Stage Two – Anger! I was hurt. I felt abandoned, rejected, used. To deflect everything and everyone away from my vulnerable core, I expressed anger in a variety of different ways. I am not generally an angry person, but anger kicked in with an effort to protect me from the pain that I was living with. The anger did not last long and I am glad, because I just can’t live life that way.
Stage Three – Bargaining! I wanted to fix this! I went to the person on several occasions and asked if they would please explain to me what was going on. They had nothing for me. There response was: “It’s not you, it’s me!” I was willing to do almost whatever I needed to do. I prayed, talked to others and replayed the scenarios over and over again through my mind which eventually took me to a dark place.
Stage Four – Depression! I did not know it and I certainly did not want to admit it, but my heart was broken. My life – while filled with many good things, was also filled with sadness and regret. Regret for what had been lost. Regret for what seemed like wasted time. Regret for more reasons than I care to list on paper. I actually wrote a poem which I posted on the blog around the time that I was working my way out of this depression. The poem is called “The Voice!” and can be found here http://wp.me/p64uI-yI
Stage Five – Acceptance! That day on the lawn mower, I finally came to the place where I realized that this is just the way it is going to be. If I could do something about it, I would certainly try, but I can’t without the help of the other person, so this “best friendship” is dead. (It still feels strange to say it out loud!) I am not happy about it’s death, but this is reality and I have a life to live, ministry to perform and new friendships to pursue. (I don’t won’t that to sound cold, because I still grieve the loss of the friendship, but I accept it as reality and will do my best to not let it keep me from being who God created me to be and doing what God created me to do!)
Maybe one day our lives will intersect in that truly special way again and maybe they will not. I am not closed to it, but I am also not going to waste any negative energy on it. I have too much to offer and a calling to fulfill! I thank God for what was shared and the blessing that it was at the time! (For me, it was a very good thing and my life is better because of the friendship!) The Bible puts it this way: “A friend loves at all times, and is born, as is a brother, for adversity.” Proverbs 17: 17
If you have ever experienced the grief that comes from loss, then I am sure that you can relate and I hope this helps as you work your way through your own stuff! I share this because I want you to know that you can love God, love people and still have problems, challenges and pain. Life does not always work out the way that you want or the way that you plan, but it does always work out.
You may find that you have to work and live through some tough stuff, but God is with you and He will never leave you or forsake you! Hang in there, work on yourself, serve others and glorify your Creator! God Bless & Press On!