A friend is long sought, hardly found, and with difficultly kept.
I’ve always believed that it’s important to pick you battles because some are not worth either person’s time. Sometimes towards the end of June, I had what you could call difficultly keeping a friend.
For a long time I wasn’t interested in having a friend, at least one who was committed to her faith. That’s crazy, because who doesn’t want a friend? But to my defence, I was frustrated with women who weren’t committed to maintaining relationships with other women.
The difficulty of maintaining a friend, and I could blame it on a lot of things, but I think sometimes there are things that God doesn’t reveal to us right away. I don’t claim to understand all the facets of how to have a friend. At least to me it was simple; I wanted one good friend who was committed to her faith, and I thought the Lord had brought her into my life.
We had many similar interests, and we could talk to for hours…
But that was the first two years when my friend started up and maintained a women’s ministry in our church, but when she left, things changed. I was aware they would, but I didn’t realize it would be so drastic.
In the beginning, we met once a month, we loved reading and we would discuss the books we had both read. I am a huge reader of fiction, and when I first met her she only read non-fiction, but she read one of my favourite authors, and in no time, she was reading fiction as well. This was the first time I had the opportunity to speak with someone who was reading the same books as I was. It was fun to hear her opinions. Often this would lead us to speak about topics that lead from reading the books.
It wasn’t picture-perfect, but no relationship/friendship is flawless. She is married and homeschooled her children. I never expected to be her first priority, plus she lives in the country, so the only time I would see her would be on Sunday. I tried to be a good friend by accommodating to her situation. Even though I avoid crowds, I would go down to the hall in between Masses to say hi to her. Her family went to the earlier service, and I attended the later one. I found it rude when people would angle themselves just so I was aware that they were waiting to talk to my friend.
I have felt the brunt of friends getting married and just disappearing …
Her world was one of husbands, children, running households and I didn’t belong. There are people who attract others. She has this unique quality that brings everyone to her. She was doing what the Lord wanted her to do. Before she came to Canada, she had planned to live a life as a contemplative nun in a convent. We had many differences, but I was aware of this at the beginning. I was trying to focus on what interests we shared.
I try avoiding conflict at all costs, but situations would bubble up, and I decided to write my thoughts down. I shared these thoughts with her. From the beginning I was open and honest to her about who I was, I communicated what I felt, and she listened. But what I didn’t know then, it seem as if I was speaking a language that she didn’t truly understand.
We met when it was best for her, but I would hesitate to go over to her when I saw her upstairs in the church. I would mentally debate whether I would go over to her. She stated to me that she invested more in our friendship than she had in any relationship. For reasons I can’t quite explain, it didn’t make me feel any more secure in my friendship with her.
I assumed she knew how a relationship worked, she was married but maybe she didn’t. In all the time, I tried to explain to her what I needed, she never once told me what she needed. Gently, the solid connection we had begun, started to unravel. I asked her what she wanted out of the friendship, but she has never given me an answer for it. Gradually over time, I felt myself holding back from sharing with her.
I was weary of accommodating her needs
One of my main love languages is quality time, I thought if maybe she knew this…so I began writing down my thoughts. After a long day at work, the last thing I need to do is go walking around the neighbourhood. She seem to get what it was that I was asking for. But things don’t always work out even though I did try to communicate my needs as well I could. However, words couldn’t quite convey what was going on between us. The old me would’ve slapped blame on myself for our deteriorating friendship. Maybe it was my miscommunication to her who I was. It’s easy to say I was in the wrong because it’s easier to put the blame on yourself. But a relationship is made up of two people not just one person.
What happen to spark this divide between us?
An inappropriate email from her jolted it for me, but I could feel the tension between us weeks before.
I waited for a while to write a post on this twist on relationship in my life. It wasn’t until I came upon, the above quote by St. Jerome, and how I felt that he was speaking exactly into how I have experienced present and past friendships. I want someone who has hopefully equal footing in the friendship.