Thursday, November 12, 2009

anyone have a hammer?

I've never thought myself to be much of a construction worker, but lately I have been very busy building a wall. It's high and it's sturdy and it's thick -- but I hope it's not entirely indestructible. Of course the wall is a metaphor, since I wouldn't have the slightest clue how to properly engineer the building of an actual wall. The wall I am referring to is one that a lot of you may be familiar with; a wall of protection to keep myself from getting hurt.

It's inevitable, I know. Relationships will crumble and fall and I will get hurt; it's a natural part of life. But it's also natural to try and protect ourselves from such tragedies. And that is what I feel I am doing. But I also fear that while trying to protect myself, I am also hurting myself in the process from keeping people on the other side of my wall.

It all started back in March when I had a falling out with one of my very best friends. One day we were heading out on a fun girl's weekend with a few other friends...and the very next day things happened that started the downward spiral to an irreparable friendship. I never saw it coming. I still can hardly fathom that the events that transpired actually did happen. A two year friendship -- a very close friendship -- was over.

*SNAP!* Just. Like. That.

There were efforts to "kiss and make up" -- but it was soon clear that it wasn't likely to happen. In fact, things only got worse. We even staged a 'reconciliation meeting' in summer that involved the pastor of our church and another respectable man from the congregation. We ended that meeting by giving each other a hug and making small talk. But I left feeling very dissatisfied and we have not spoken since. And I doubt that we ever will again.

That whole process has had a very big impact on me. Negatively, of course. And I have struggled to come to terms with it for the past 8 months. I don't understand how two best friends can hurt each other like that and not be able to work it out. I tried -- believe me, I tried -- to meet her in the middle. I claimed responsibility for my part in things (because I know that I was definitely a main character), and waited for her to do the same. But she never did. And I just could not bring myself to put more effort into a relationship where all the blame seemed to unjustly lay at my feet. It would just not be fair. And it wouldn't really be a friendship.

I think about this person every single day. I do the whole "what if" scenerios...but it doesn't really matter. What's done is done; neither of us can go back and change things. All we can do is try to move forward...separately. Do I have the wrong attitude by closing myself off to any potential reconciliation? Some of you might think that I do. Some of you might argue that you yourself have been in a seemingly hopeless situation with a good friend but that in the end, you came out stronger than ever on the other side. And that may be true...but that's not the way it always works.

I believe that sometimes you need to just let go. Some friendships were only meant to be for a season and others were meant to be for life. It's impossible to hold onto all relationships for the rest of your life; it just isn't feasible.

But while it may not be feasible, it doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt when a beautiful friendship comes to a screeching halt. That someone who you loved and cared for ended up thinking that you didn't do enough for them in their time of need. That someone who you thought would be there for you through thick and thin -- until you were old and gray -- is no longer a part of your life.

It is heart-wrenching. It is damaging. And it is causing me to build that wall. I know that the wall is supposed to keep me from getting hurt like this again; its purpose is to keep everyone at arm's length instead of having them close to my heart. The logic being that if I don't get close to someone like that again, I can't get hurt like that again.

But the irony of the wall is that rather than 'protecting' me from hurt, it is preventing me from knowing beautiful friendships. Ones that will succeed and make it through thick and thin. Ones that will last until I am old and gray. I still have a couple of those friendships already -- ones that have stood the test of time and are over a decade old in the making (you 2 know who you are!)-- but I don't want to put a wall up between me and any current friendships (as I have been doing), or any future potential friendships either.

So I think it's time I start knocking down that wall and letting people back in. It may make me more vulnerable...but as the old saying goes: "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."

Anyone have a hammer?


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you are hurting. The loss of any relationship hurts big time, not to mention one that you still want to hang on to.

It's a cliché, but if you love her, let her go. She may need time to heal from other things in her life or perhaps she was only meant to be a part of your life for the time you were friends.

Just keep loving the ones you've got because they are the ones by your side right now :)

Sending you a virtual hammer!

As a side note, my MIL told me that friends are like condiments. Some are like mustard and others are like horseradish. We just have to accept that not everyone can be ketchup! Perhaps you have another ketchup in the midst waiting for you to open up to him/her.

Rebecca said...

I was in your spot not too long ago. I understand the hurt and surprise of a friendship ending. I also very much understand just letting it go. Not every friend is worth fighting for and if she wouldn't meet you part way, then her friendship wasn't worth your efforts. Enjoy the friends you have and be open to new ones, like you said - who knows what you could miss.

TammyIsBlessed said...

We've got hammers at our house!

In all seriousness, it shows wisdom to recognize the building of walls, and how the short term protection is actually long term pain.

I know it is so hard to trust again after you've been betrayed. But the benefits of those super-close friendships ARE worth the risk.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Forgot to add....

You may not be proactively pursuing reconciliation, but you are open to it, should both parties be willing to own up to their responsibilities - and you are bang on on that one baby!

Kathy and Carl said...

An excellent post Andrea. Gosh, my stomach just turns thinking of the agony of working through such a process. You are right, sometimes you just have to move on. I have to accept that not everyone is going to be my BFF and be totally compatible with me for ever. I have to move on from a relationship too. But that shouldn't stop us from continuing to be seek out other relationships.

Can I borrow the hammer after your done?

Jenn said...

I think it's awesome that you've become aware of the "irony of the wall". We have the natural instinct to get our guards up when we're hurt like that, but having them come back and bite is in the butt is no fun.

And I think it's extra awesome that you're ready to knock those walls down!!! Throw your shoulder into and send it a crumblin'!

Leeann said...

My goodness, Andrea. We truly, truly are kindered spirits. I know we joke, but it really is so funny/strange/creepy how much our lives tend to parallel each others. ((HUGS)) to you, my friend.

Roo said...

i know what you mean.

that kind of pain is deep and you wonder if you will ever be free or able or vulnerable enough to be about to trust and love again. i understand that. i am praying/thinking about you.

i am glad that you are facing the pain...and the walls...and the realities....because that is a huge step in healing your beautiful heart.

somedays....(like today and last week...) people make me so crazy i am ready to pack it all in and find me an island!!! know....i know that isn't the answer. it just seems so enticing.....


Gin said...

Hmmm....some things make sense now. Thanks for being so open and vulnerable. Friendships can be messy things. I have one that is really rocky right now and I know I've been building the wall because I fear exactly what you've described. You're an amazing woman and am thankful that you've been brought into my life!

Joanna said...

Very well written. The pain of getting tossed out on your rear is just so hurtful and confusing. I'm right there!