It may be a cliché but is quite true: you don't know what you have until it is gone. That can apply to health, or financial stability, or in this case, friendship. Within the last few weeks someone I considered one of my closest friends severed ties with me (and a lot of others). Due to circumstances that aren't important to this narrative, he and his wife felt compelled to make a rather abrupt change to major parts of their lives. In doing so, I have lost two of the more important people in my life.
It hurts and has left a large hole. At first I was stunned and quite upset, almost upset enough to do something rash on my part. A day or two later I knew the more appropriate response was to take a deep breath and move on. But, the events of this period have made it abundantly clear to me the importance of friendship and the impermanence of a human relationship.
What bothers me about the loss, I admit, are selfish concerns. I will miss seeing this fellow on a regular basis. We used to have contact at least twice a week, sometimes more. I looked forward to being with him, sharing time and thoughts, and having him as a springboard for ideas and concerns. We had different political views and some of our spiritual beliefs were not entirely in sync. But, we still enjoyed each other's company in spite of, or maybe because of, our differences.
If I needed help I knew with complete certainty he would be there for me, and me for him. A ride somewhere, a shared meal, a question about a subject one of us had some expertise in, moral and spiritual support....there was never any doubt that we would be there for each other. Watching movies, eating home cooked meals as two couples...we shared quite a bit. Now, that link has been cut.
There is certainly the chance that this friendship will restart though I'm beginning to have my doubts. For now, I must wait for him to signal that that he wants to make contact again.
While this has been a disappointing experience for me, there is a broader message. Change in life is what happens. Anything that you or I think is rock solid, predictable, and dependable is an illusion. There is nothing that stays the same. There is nothing that can't be shattered in an instant.
Friendship is one of those things that makes our life richer and fuller. It is to be treasured and savored. It is to be nurtured and protected and fought for. But, if something happens that brings it to an end then be thankful for the time you had to enjoy and enrich each other. Wish the other person the very best and keep the door open for a new chapter together.
Then, move forward. It does me no good to try to turn back the clock, wonder what I am missing, or think I could have changed what happened. Friendship is one of those things that can't be forced and can't be prolonged. It is a gift for the time it is available. I press on, better for the experience and stronger for the events of the past two weeks.
Have you had an important friendship end? Was it because you or the other person moved or was it simply a falling out? How did you react? I'd appreciate your sharing. It would help me understand what I have gone through.