i was a horrible friend.
2011 Sucked. There, was that prolific enough for you? I keep trying to talk myself out of it because it just feels like I should ONLY be focusing on the goodness of every day. But a broad spectrum, big picture look back on the year of 2011 has me sticking my thumb out, turning it down and making overt fart noises.
Wanna know why it sucked? I’ll tell you.
I was a horrible friend.
This year one of my best friends had a miscarriage. Having never experienced that specific trauma, I had no idea how to react. I let the weight of it sit on my heart for a few days. I sent her my condolences via email. I text her to see how she was doing. I even thought about sending a card and maybe some flowers. But I wasn’t sure how to react with the highest level of appropriateness. So instead I did nothing. Well actually, I did the bare minimum. I let her know I was sorry and then I left her alone to grieve in her own way. Months later, I brought it up again, almost casually. We talked about it a little and then she thanked me for asking about it. It seems I wasn’t the only one who had left her to her own grieving. Not even her husband knew how to tread that murky water. I had made a mistake, for which I will forever be sorry. I should have sent those flowers. I should have been there to see her. To just sit there with her. She lost her child. And I thought silence was the best medicine. Dumby dumb dumb.
In the Fall of last year we left our church. It is one of only two situations in my life that I was unceremoniously ripped away from some very important relationships in my life. Two times in 28 years…that ain’t bad. I call that a win actually. But in the aftermath I was left pretty exhausted from the lack of communication from some people that I loved very dearly. I didn’t get the response I expected, because I expected those friendships to continue without hesitation. And when they didn’t, I was obviously incredibly sad. But the few I did hear from expressed that they didn’t particularly know how to approach the situation and the temptation to do nothing was strong.
It is so strong isn’t it? I can think back now on all the times I did nothing. All the friends I didn’t follow into the depths of sadness because of the overwhelming fear that I wouldn’t have the perfect thing to say. When obviously they didn’t even want to hear the perfect thing. They just needed to know I loved them enough to be their friend. That’s why in wedding vows we have to remind each other that the relationship is bound through good and bad times. We don’t give each other a choice to do nothing.
But friends aren’t forever. Despite whatever Michael W. Smith has told you. We get a few years, more if we are lucky. Jobs and family and circumstance tend to move us around and separate us over time. But in the short amount of time we have, I wish we would take the role more seriously. I wish I would. Not only in the times that I’m feeling rejected and hurt by the loss of a friend.
I want to do better when I get the chance again. When God refills my friend supply, I want to do so much more than nothing. I know the pain of being the neglector, and also the pain of being the neglected.
Neither of them interest me any longer.
I love you dear friends. Enough to do much more than nothing.
Your sassy friend,