Thank you for the encouraging comments on my last blog. (Even from those of you who did not care for my chosen "vegetable" of olives – Cousin Joy!) 😉
I guess the bottom line of all my "deep thoughts" would be that I am tired of losing friends:
*Losing friends to death
*Losing friends to distance
*Losing friends to neglect
*Losing friends to sin
It just gets discouraging when it seems to come in "batches".
[Welcome to my very small pity party. You know, I've invited y'all to those before. They are usually short-lived, and I don't expect you to participate at all, unless you so desire.]
I remember when I was 5 years old, I lost my very first very best friend. One day she was at school, and the next she wasn't. Her family moved from the area, and I never saw or heard from her again.
(Although, realistically, we were 5 – it's not like we could have corresponded. We could barely write our names!)
Yet, some (nearly – not quite, but neary) 40 years later, I remember that pain like it was yesterday. That feeling of my heart shattering into a million pieces, and feeling that it would never be mended.
Thankfully, as I can well remember too, my heart was quickly mended. The pain did not last, and I made new friends.
However, I will tell you, even now, when I realize that a friendship is indeed "over", that pain – once I allow myself to acknowlege it – is almost as staggering as it was on the day I first experienced it.
This past year, I lost my friend, Gail, to death. I lost other friends in the past 2 years to distance, because we moved away. I lost others to neglect, due to my focus on my health and on Isaac, I just didn't have the energy to keep up the correspondence. Others I have lost to sin. They have walked away from God (as far as I can ascertain); and have turned their backs on seemingly everything we had in common.
Every one of those losses just makes me sad.
True to form, though, I push the pain away, bury it deeply, and try not to "feel" it. I try to mentally acknowledge it without emotionally experiencing it. Grief is messy, and inconvenient, and, most often, poorly timed.
So, as January is usually a reflective month for me (what with all the thoughts of a new year and the end of the holidays and the lack of sunshine and the cold temperatures), it has all come pouring over me that past few weeks.
I have felt sad…and MAD…and sorrowful…and remorseful…and disappointed…and regretful about my lost friendships of the past year.
I really would like to act the same way I did at age 5 when I lost my friend, Renee. I remember running away from my mom, down the school sidewalk with tears flowing, and bellowing my anguish for all the world to hear.
Come to think of it, that's probably why I felt so much better so quickly.
I know I can cry. I've done my share of that the past 7 months, after losing Gail. I just don't know what to do with the anger. The obvious answer is forgiveness. Forgive myself for not trying harder, forgive my friends for…well, there it is. They have hurt me, but they have hurt God more, I know, by leaving His precepts and commandments and following their own lusts and desires.
It's hard for me to forgive them for that. I know Jesus already forgave their sins, just like He forgave mine when He died on Calvary. I'm afraid my journey to forgiveness will take a bit longer, although it could, in no way, be more painful than was His.
The only thing I know to do is to go to the Scripture, and then try to live out what the Lord gives me there. Hmmm…I wonder how many times I will "get" to live out these verses in my lifetime. I would have told you that I had already learned this lesson on forgiveness…
…but aparently not. 😉
So, class, let's look at our verses, and begin our study again:
Luke 17:3-4 – Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Yep, I think that will give me quite enough "homework" for a few days. There is so much to meditate on in those verses!
Thanks for listening to my rambling, sober thoughts. Just working them out so they make sense to you has helped them to make sense to me. My friend, Kathy, always used to say, "I'm just processing out loud here!" I guess that's what I'm doing too.
On a final note, I pray that those friends who were lost to neglect can find it in their hearts to want to forgive me. There's always two sides to every coin, isn't there?
And, so this post does not bring us all to the depths of despair with its negativity, I want to say just how thankful I am for the new friends I am making here. It seems to take longer these days to make a new friend. I think we are more cautious and selective as we get older.
I am treading lightly in this area, but the Lord is faithfully bringing Christian sisters into my life that are being a blessing to me. Thank you, Lord, for Your mercy in giving me another chance to be a good friend. May I walk worthy of that gift.