When I moved to Phoenix, AZ March of last year, I didn’t really have a much of a plan, I sort of just did it. A best friend of mine lives out here and graciously opened her home to me to stay in while I got myself situated, hooked me up with a job at her job, so I started work almost right away. Things were going pretty good right out of the gate. My move here was filled with all of the uncertainty that any move to a new place is, but I did have expectations. I believed, at the very least, I would have someone to hang out with here and there and that we would grow closer as friends. And then it didn’t work out like that. Like almost anything in my life, the reality did not meet the expectation.
This friend of mine, who I thought of as a sister, was either unable or unwilling to be there. Let’s say she had other priorities, which are fine. Unfortunately, our friendship was not one. I’ve always thought that the worst offense between two people would be an abuse of trust of some type, but I was wrong it’s neglect and indifference. To be treated like you don’t exist and don’t matter by someone you love like family is difficult to accept. Friendship is a beautiful thing when it’s good. Close friends are siblings you choose. You love them, sacrifice, talk to, and share your life with your friends. Laugh until you cry and cry until you laugh. That’s why it hurts so much when they treat you poorly because you thought your friendship was beyond that and you NEVER have done that to them. And it is when you start talking about what you would never do that you know the conversation needs to turn towards forgiveness.
For a long time, I didn’t know whether or not we were going to make it. And then I started to lose belief in our ability to make it. Finally, I wasn’t sure whether or not I wanted to make it. I think my friend and I had the same conversation 50 times; each time I walked away more cynical than the time before. How could I reasonably open my heart back up to my friend? Could we just go back to the way things were? I don’t know that you can go back. There is a line in The Alchemist that says, “When you cannot go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”
Forward. Forgiveness. Friendship. I’ve heard it said that no amount of good times make a friendship but the amount of obstacles you overcome—together. There is nothing like time and space to provide clarity. I love my friend, but I love me too; and my love for her in no way nullifies the standard I have set for myself and what I will and will not put up with. And then I think of the verse that says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8. What is love that cannot withstand the stresses of time, change, and, even, arrested development?
There is something to be said about those of us who self- deceive. Who project a personality and expectations on a person and then get upset when that person fails to be that person and meet those expectations. See, it wasn’t just her, it was me too. I thought she was someone that she wasn’t. Not because she ever pretended to be. I wasn’t paying attention. Who she is isn’t altogether bad. The problem is it wasn’t who thought she was.
Now, I am with left the reality of the things. My mother told me that once I am able to accept her for who she is, I’ll be able to move forward. Nothing like the wisdom of your mother to help you get unstuck.
I had to make the conscious decision to love my friend just as she is today. Not who I think she will be or who she has promised to become, but the women she is.
Will we be friends again? Again because for a time there we weren’t, and it hurt. Turns out forgiving was easy, it was the returning that proved difficult; but I want my friend back.
I pray the belief return—like life in the spring after the dead of winter—that we will be close friends again. It will take time, and, of course, things have changed, but change is not always bad. Sometimes change is exactly you need to move forward.