April 20, 2015 by Mary Elizabeth
Illustrious, vivacious, multiplicity. That is the kind of humans we are.
At least I hope so.
That is why we seek out connection.
On a dark country road there are long stints of darkness. Tousling roads, rickety, as your car rocks back and forth while speeding forward. Either side of your car, all you can see is the blurred dark fields bleed into the night starlight sky. Then bright as ever there’s a crack of luminous bulbs moving toward you. The crack of light erodes away the blanket of ink cloaked upon you, your rickety car, and the dark fields. Hazy, but still–you can see nothing but bright, luminous, neon, bulbs.
Friendship feels like those lights. In the midst of human darkness. There’s a break. It streams in and like a moth you flock to the affection and companionship. At its best, it illuminates the best parts of one another amidst laughter, shared memories, and congruent opinions about the world around you.
A cheap friendship is worn out by incredulous indiscretions. It isn’t vulnerable. It isn’t honest. It isn’t selfless. It is self made. Cheap friendship ends more or less chaotic. It ends.
I’ve lost a few friendships in the past few years. It feels very middle school and dramatic to say that. Its an admittance of failure. Failure to something that should come easy to everyone. Maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Friendships shouldn’t be deep enough for you to feel as though you must end them. They simply should drift, as most adult friendships inevitably do. Perhaps. I think friendships are best exposed. If it fails? It does. I’ve become a better woman for the failed ones.
I was once resolute that my life would be better for those friendships ending. I was right, it is better for it, but like any other kind of distance from a place of affection healthy or not, loss leaves a mark. The ending of congeniality leaves a bareness of the soul different than any other kind of relational breech. Its specific. Its embarrassing to grieve. Its a loss that doesn’t quite have a space. Dietrich Boenhoffer describes it poignantly,
“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.”
So I am accepting the loss of those past beloved friendships. Unhealthy as they were, I must mourn them. As I repine, I’ve awoken to the beauty of the lessons learned. I have surmised, that in consenting to the deterioration of past soul ties it will be the beginning of a newfound strength for Mary.
I’m leery of sounding like every American girl who has travelled when I say this. While living in a new country, meeting new people, and finding new ways of life, I have found myself embracing the lament of those empty slots of friendship. It isn’t remorse nor regret. I couldn’t have come here and gained all the courage I have to begin new things without letting go in total absolution of those counterfeit companions. I suppose I write all this, as an open letter, to those who’ve never been told that friendship loss is a reason. It’s enough of a reason for bereavement. Sure, it isn’t death, it isn’t a broken romance, it isn’t a divorce. Nevertheless, a human’s soul exposed and failed feels like a romance that was divorced and put to death. Embrace it, let it unfold in you, forgive those who’ve wronged you, and find the redemption within.
I have done so, and since have been regarding my soul a lot more valuable than to attach itself to unsacred ties.