I thought our friendship would last forever. But it didn’t. What hurt most was the way it ended. I just looked around, and she was gone. No explanation. No conversation. No attempt at resolution. One day she just stopped taking my phone calls. She avoided me at social gatherings. She refused my invitation to talk about it. When I asked what I did to justify the sudden cold shoulder, “Nothing” was her reply in a tone that really said, “Everything.” And she’s probably right. I hurt her deeply. I must have. But how can you make amends when the other person refuses to tell you what you did wrong?
Silence is a form of violence. Refusing to talk, to open up and say what went wrong, refusing someone the chance to correct their wrongs, are all weapons of retaliation. It’s no longer about the wrong you did, but the power the other enjoys forcing you to stumble around in darkness and silence. “You know, or ought to know, what you did” is the implicit message. That you don’t know only fuels her anger.
I think of the friends I’ve had the good fortune to make over the years, and I know that friends are those who despite all the ways in which we could be jealous of each other, compare ourselves to each other, and despite all the opportunities we have had to betray each other’s trust, lie to each other, to take advantage of each other, and to stop talking to each other — we have chosen not to go there in our relationship. We’ve certainly chosen not to stay there on those occasions when we have been less than perfect with each other. We’ve chosen to support each other, to celebrate each other, to stay true to each other, to speak up even when it hurts, and to make ourselves available to each other in the good times and in the bad ones.
Some friendships simply don’t have enough wick. There’s not enough there in the candle to catch a good flame. No matter how much you wish otherwise. Nothing’s there beyond the surface. It’s my fault, this new wound. I should have let it go a year ago when it first started buckling.
“At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good bye, but Ruth clung to her.” (Ruth 1: 14)
Reading the story of Orpah leaving Ruth and Naomi makes me think of the friendships I’ve lost over the years. The friendships that ended before I noticed. The ones that just died out. The ones that took more than they gave. The ones that had an unspoken agreement or assumption that requires you to stay in the same place, and to do otherwise is to abandon the relationship
Some friendships were never meant to be forever. They were only for a season. Hopefully, you part with more rich memories than bad ones. The laughter. The sharing. The much needed support of the other in a season when you needed each other most. And now it’s over. For whatever reason. It’s her fault, it’s your fault, it’s nobody’s fault in particular. To beg her to stay and not go will only mean you’ll have to beg her again and again to stay. Release her in God’s hands and let her go. She offered you friendship for a season. Be grateful for the season you enjoyed together. There just wasn’t enough wick for forever.