I don't want to have to write this. I didn't ever want to have to write anything even remotely like this. But I promised you honesty. So here it is in all its raw, emotional glory.
My relationship with my closest friend ended officially last night.
We met in fourth grade and became best friends in seventh. Come the later years of high school we were basically inseparable, spending every other day with each other, doing life, overcoming pain, growing in our relationships with each other and with our Designer. We were going to be in each other's weddings and raise our kids alongside of each other. We were going to change the world together, and up until recently I couldn't picture any part of my future without her being there.
Then, over the Summer, she left to participate in a six-month long internship at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City while I stayed here in the Springs. Before she left, we talked about how she would be cutting ties with practically everyone but her family. This meant we would go half a year without communicating at all. I remember so vividly where we were when we had this conversation. We sat in her little blue car in the parking lot of The Shops at Briargate.
"If I come back and we're still best friends then great, we can pick up right where we left off . . ."
She trailed off, not needing to finish her thought. I knew what the other potential outcome was and neither of us was willing to say it straight up.
So she left and I stayed, thoroughly convinced that a nine-year long relationship could certainly withstand six months of separation. But a lot happened over that six months. God took us on these journeys, so deep and intense and different from each other's. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that even when she returned that things would never be the same again. But in all my stupid optimism and naivete, I convinced myself to believe that things didn't have to change, that she would be the exception to the rule that everyone in my life is just going to walk away, that we really could pick up right where we left off.
Fast forward to December when she came home. I picked her up from her house so she could join my family for dinner one night and we tried our best over the few hours we had together to catch up on everything that God had been doing. But something was different and I couldn't for the life of me pinpoint what it was. I didn't want to pinpoint what it was. I didn't want things to be different, I didn't want to be wrong, I didn't want to lose her. So I tried so damn hard to believe that everything was exactly as it had always been.
But it wasn't, and we both knew it. She moved back to Kansas City last month to start building her new life. I didn't get the chance to say goodbye. I felt so naive, so stupid, for not being able to do anything to save what we had. I felt like it was my fault. What was so wrong with me that people just couldn't bare to stick around? But instead of dealing with my problems and sorting through my thoughts, I buried them under the idea that the relationship was still salvageable, we both just needed to figure out where we stood.
*End backstory, skip to yesterday*
Then last night, after returning home from the Superbowl party at Dallas's house where I finally taken time with my two adopted big sisters, Laura and Mandie, to figure out my thoughts and renounce lies and come to conclusions about relationships, I checked my email. And there, at the top of my inbox was a message from her. I knew in my heart what she was going to say but I opened it up still clinging to whatever optimism I had left.
In reading the email, I realized that we had come to the same conclusion - that the journeys God was taking us on were so separate, that they just weren't lining up the way they had through junior high and high school. While we will surely see each other again - attend each other's weddings, meet each other's kids - our time as best friends is over.
I saw it coming. Months ago and miles away I saw it coming. I just didn't want to believe that it was. And even the predictability of the whole thing doesn't make it any easier. Walking away may very well be the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
But it's okay. I'm okay, though I may not feel very okay at the moment. I know that all things work together for the good of those who love Him, and I know that I am going to be just fine.
I'm horribly torn. One half of me - the immature, childish, weak, fleshly part of me - is angry at myself for not trying hard enough to save the relationship. This side feels rejected and hurt and wants more than anything to run away and never let myself love someone ever again.
But there's another side of me - the side that is the real me - that is winning.
Logically, I should be heartbroken. I should be reverting to all of my abandonment and rejection and trust issues. I should be swearing that I'll never let anyone touch my heart ever again. I should be ruined for relationship.
But I'm not, and I know why.
Papa has been teaching me about the importance of people in my life. I'm so relationally wired that even when I'm crushed I feel the need to be with other people to sort through the broken pieces of my mixed-up soul. That's because I'm supposed to be with people. Even the ones who walk away. I'm learning that letting go, that walking away, isn't necessarily a bad thing.
I love her. Even now that our relationship is over, I still love her. She's moved me in ways that no one else ever has and I've given parts of my heart to her that I can never get back or give away again. But that's okay. Maybe I was stupid for thinking that we really were going to go through with any of our crazy future schemes, maybe I was just hopeful. But either way, I know that we were not placed in each other's lives by accident.
God clothed Himself with her and used her to save me during a time when I didn't want to be saved. She taught me patience, forgiveness, and above all, how to love unconditionally no matter the circumstance. I won't lie, it kills me to have to write about this today. To have to look back at all of our memories together and know that there won't be any more. But I do take some comfort in the fact that our time together was not for nothing. It was undoubtedly for good.
For right now, I honestly don't know how long it'll take for me to allow myself to love someone like that again, to trust with that kind of abandon and dive into that kind of intimacy. But if there's one thing that I do know, it's that I am in fact capable of doing so once. No one will ever be able to take the place in my life that forever belongs to her, but my name means love. And I know I can do it again.
So, Mel, if you're reading this, please know how deeply you have touched me and how proud I am of you. You are going to rock the world with your passion and your grace. You certainly rocked mine. Never be afraid to follow Him into the dark. You'll be amazed at all the beauty you can find there.
All the love and prayers that I could possibly have to offer you,