Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Ebb & Flow of Friendships

I have been thinking lately about the passage of time and how friendships come and go from your life. Perhaps it was my husband's recent 20 year high school reunion and the thoughts it incited about my own just a few years away. Maybe it is facebook: the names, faces and memories that it brings back to the forefront of my mind. Whatever the cause, I have found myself mourning a few great friendships that just petered out.

I left for college at 17 and did not marry until I was 27. In those 10 years I had 14 different roommates. I was a bridesmaid 12 times. I have been blessed to have a great deal of meaningful, beautiful friendships. Some have stood the test of time and distance. Others have not. I have tried to pinpoint predictors or common denominators of the ones that survived versus the ones that faded out. I cannot put my finger on it.

I am actually rather surprised with how some of them ended up. A couple of the ones that were the deepest--where we went through some of the most difficult circumstances together---have fallen away. I did some very painful chapters of life with people I rarely have contact with these days. Yet, others that were more casual acquaintances have grown more intimate and important with time. It is a mystery.

I have lived in 6 cities through various stages of life. I know it is unrealistic to expect there to be room for all those relationships to remain healthy and vibrant. Still, I miss some of those friendships greatly. I care for those women and wish we were more than Christmas card friends, but I struggle with how to handle those feelings. It seems bit a awkward when we do talk--I still have such affection for the place the once held in my life, but life has moved on.

There are husbands and children to love on...new friends assigned to this place and stage of life...and only so much time and energy left to devote outside of that. It is painful that everyone cannot make the cut.

There is no neat bow to wrap up this post...just reflections on a fact of life that is hard to understand.

14 comments:

Colored With Memories said...

i often ponder these same things...written so well by you. friendships are so tough to figure out at times...i'm just thankful for the ones i have!

KM said...

WOw...you and I are about the same age, with children the same age (5)...perhaps it is this season in life that brings about so much introspection...and pondering. I could have written this post...albeit never as eloquently.

kristi in texas

Lindsey said...

Friendships. I'm only 24, but I often find myself thinking about what my life will look years from now. Which of these friendships that are so important now will stand the test of time?

Great reflections...

Todd and Randi said...

So thankful we sat down in your bedroom probably 10 years ago and made a decision to not let petty things interfere with our friendship. I truly believe that was a defining moment in our friendship. I'm glad I'm one of the ones who has been around for 20 years. Looking forward to at least that many more.

MamaBear said...

The timing of this post gives me chills. On Saturday I'm driving back to my hometown for my college roommates wedding (she's from chicago, but happened to meet a guy from Madison). I will see lots of people I haven't seen or heard from in 10 years. While I'm in town, I'm going to meet up with at least one friend from high school. My dearest Christian friend growing up - we've been through a lot together and no matter how long we go between visits or phone calls, we always pick right up where we left off. How's that Micheal W. Smith song go??? "A friend's a friend forever if the Lord's the Lord of them...."

Adam and Andrew said...

Have you read Dee Brestin's the Friendships of Women? It is a very insightful book that touches on many of the things you mention in this post. I recently did a study on it and really enjoyed it.

Leah in Iowa said...

It can be hurtful when we dwell on loss, can't it!? But I think you hit on a key phrase - "stage of life". God brought those special gals into your life just at the right time, knowing you'd need each particular one for whatever situation you were going through. "Seasons" are happening all around us - in our marriages, our spiritual lives, watching our kids grow, with our husbands, and even with friendships. Just be thankful God provided who He did when He did for you. =)

laurie said...

Facebook definitely brings those friendships back up and makes you wonder what is that stands the test of time. I know I miss some of my old friends, but I think as we get older we have different priorities and our family time pushes alot of time for friends away. It is hard sometimes to think about what could be though. Sorry for such a rambling comment :-)

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

You're always teaching me.

Kate said...

I've thought a lot about this lately. I've lived in several different places and had some dear, dear friends whose addresses I don't even know anymore.

It saddens me that I let those friendships fade and has made me more conscious of nurturing the friendships I have now. It is so easy to be so wrapped up in our own lives and busy-ness--I want to make sure to keep room in my life for my friends.

And I do love that Facebook has given me a way to connect with some old friends again! =)

Melissa said...

I feel the same way. I love Facebook because it gives me a peek into their lives, even though we aren't day-to-day friends anymore. I struggle with letting go of those friendships though.

Christy said...

I've only left a comment here once or twice (I think I linked here through Big Mama a while back?), but...

I totally and completely agree. I went to a military school, and was in the military for just over five years, and have lived and worked in so many different places because of that. I've gone through really hard things and really great things with people from back home, people I went to college with, people I served with... and sometimes I sit and reflect on how and why some of those relationships waned. I don't think there is a rhyme or reason in my case either... but I have thought before, is there something wrong with me (some trend I have) - where am I not keeping up my end of the bargain?

But it does make me appreciate those friendships that I can pick up the phone or email after not talking in months (or years?) and catch up where we left off, with no hard feelings, no explanations required.

It's good to know I'm not the only one!

http://howitallbegan.wordpress.com

Bethany said...

This post really spoke to me. I am in the process of almost all my good friends moving away, and I hate feeling like I have no friends left. It is definitely interesting to see how even the deepest friendships fall away-- but it's so sad!

katie said...

man, i can TOTALLY relate to this one... i feel that all the time and grieve the ones i've lost. i often think it's my fault or just pure capacity...

anyway, getting caught up on your blog... and glad to have briefly reconnected with you!