My family was on vacation last week, our only beach trip this year. We were so blessed to be able to meet up with our closest friends, spending three days laughing and playing together. I was especially struck by the pure joy of the children’s play. My two boys and our friends’ two girls see each other only three or four times a year, but when they are together they are the best of friends. It’s just so easy.
Don’t you wish it were that easy for us grown-ups? I know I do. I have written here before about friendships, about how hard it can be to make meaningful bonds with other women. But it’s been a while, and it’s strange to think I’ve circled back to this place again. Oh, I have been blessed with a few amazing, deep friendships and thank God for them all the time. I would never want to minimize that blessing or shrug it off. But there have been a number of friendships in my life that have been more…difficult.
Do you experience this kind of relational trial too? Sometimes for me it has come in the form of realizing that the friendship is just limited…by too-deep differences in faith or values; perhaps by my boundaries or hang-ups or those of my friend. Sometimes simply temperament, demanding schedules, or differences in the ages of our children has gotten in the way. Sometimes everything seems to be going along wonderfully…and then there’s some kind of falling away that might not ever be fully explained.
The truth is, every rift or disruption in a friendship just hurts. Maybe when empathy is one of your strongest qualities (like me), or maybe mostly when you’re PMS-ing (like me), or maybe just for everyone. And it’s also so confusing, as in, “I’m 38 years old and haven’t I figured this out yet?” But the older I get, the more I believe that I’m not alone in this particular struggle. We all seem to be flailing about to one degree or another, seeking connection and understanding, comfort and compassion.
So, I’m praying through this again lately and thought maybe you would join me. Join me in praying for those solid girlfriend relationships that can carry us through; praying for healing for the places we’ve been hurt; praying for grace to forgive whatever resentments we’re hanging on to. Prayer to the One who loves me, who is my best friend, is the best comfort I have found when things get tricky. I welcome your prayers, and I welcome your comments here or via email. I would love to hear about your experiences in this thing called friendship.