I was very close to my college roommate, Annie*. I spent many weekends at her house and loved her parents as my own, reveling in being included in a family of girls who I counted as my own sisters. After college, she and I rented an apartment together in Little Rock, furnished it with donations from here and there, and subsisted on coffee, cereal, and yogurt while we embarked on our professional careers. I lasted for about a year before heading on to graduate school and she stayed in town with all of our close-knit gang and ended up marrying a great guy who lived in the neighboring apartment community. Even after moving halfway across the country, I’d get back home to Little Rock to see her and the rest of my friends who I considered family.
At first, when I came through town for my yearly visits, things were fine. We’d have a big get-together with all the friends and life was sunshine and roses.
And then my babies came.
And they turned into
And visits were harder and more chaotic.
And no one there knew that I was depressed and longing for some sense of normalcy.
And I would hear stories about what everyone was doing together
without me and I would feel sadness.
And I would see new friendships being formed and I would feel left out.
And then one year came when I pulled out of town and no one asked me when I was going to come back.
And as I drove out that day, an insidious thought crept into my head: The people who were my priority had made me their option. I remember calling my husband in tears, grieving the loss of twenty-year friendships that I expected would last a lifetime.
It has been two long years of silence.
I’ve learned a lot in the past two years, more than can be written in a blog post and mostly ugly lessons about myself, but the season of silence has helped push me forward in some ways, forcing me to address issues of loyalty, friendship, commitment, and family. I’ve come to terms with a lot of painful emotions in that situation, yet I’ve never found peace where things were left with Annie.
Three weeks ago, the day before Thanksgiving, I received an email from her. It was only two sentences long, wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving, but it ended with the sentiment that she was sad that we’d lost touch.
I cried for an hour.
After many hours of thinking through what I wanted to say, I wrote her back and shared my heart, laying bare my thoughts and emotions, and she has written me back, sharing hers as well and through a lot of tears and “I thought” and “I’m sorry”, we are inching down the path toward restoration.
I’m telling this story today because I want to encourage someone, anyone, that healing can occur in something you thought was broken. I know not all friendships are made to be lifelong ones and I know God gives us friends for different seasons in our lives and I’m certainly not telling you to call that old boyfriend that got married, but if you don’t have peace about a strained friendship, don’t despair. This may be a time that you’re learning more about yourself, a time for maturing, a time for healing. And when you least expect it, the opportunity will come to to bring it back together.
It may take a two-year silence.
It may take a two-sentence email.
It definitely takes two.
But it can happen.
Have a nice day.
*Not her real name