“How lucky I am to have something that makes sayng goodbye so hard.”
Winnie the Pooh (A. A. Milne)
I attended my oldest’s graduation from high school this summer. It was such a wonderful ceremony. There were so many memorable things that were said, but this quote was what really stuck with me. I have trouble with people leaving. I’m finally understanding, though, that in friendships, sometimes you have to let them go.
I’ve had to walk away from people. However, even in cases where there were abusive and toxic relationships and I’ve known I needed to walk away, I fought doing it for months. To me, it always felt like throwing someone away. That seemed so wrong. But when I took time to think about the relationships, I became more aware of the fact that I was drowning in the abuse, and was so beaten down when we were together, that I knew it was something I had to do.
In those instances, it was always very difficult, but I understood why the relationships were ending. The friendships that I don’t know how to process are the ones that seem to dissolve for no clear reason. I need to understand the reasons behind things happening. If I don’t know those reasons it’s hard for me to let it go and move on.
In one of these cases, I tried to keep meeting a friend for lunch once a month. She kept saying she had so much to do, but I simply asked if she took the time to eat lunch every day. She said she did, but then she would go on to tell me, outright and repeatedly, that she had a group of friends (and even named them) who were important to her to make time for, and my name was not mentioned. But I wasn’t hearing her. Maybe it was because in abusive relationships those who say they love you will also tell you that you are nothing and not important.
That’s not love or friendship. Once I realized the number of times she listed her friends to stop getting together with me it was so clear that I needed to let her go. Maybe, in her eyes, I never really was one of her true friends and we were just acquaintances through a group we were involved in.
And now I see that I have others in my life I need to let go. With one, life has taken over and the energy is not there to include time with a friend. Another has stopped because circumstances around my husband’s death made it too painful a reminder to see me.
It hurts, but there’s nothing I can do about any of the situations. I guess it’s just part of life and there a season and a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, also a great song from The Byrds, called “Turn, Turn, Turn“).
I know there are relationships that just won’t last or won’t stay strong over the years. There might come a time when friendships come back, but some won’t. The most important lesson I am learning, though, which the quote states so well, is that I have such good memories with these friends. Those memories, and the desire to have more, is why it’s so hard to say goodbye. Maybe there will be more and maybe there won’t.
For now, though, I have to let them go.
~ Joanna Lynn