June 10, 2007

Just for this, it was worth it to move across the country.

In our first few years of marriage my Mom died, my husband grew increasingly depressed and I was in a church that talked a lot about God’s victory without being comfortable with suffering or negative emotions. In order to survive those years I ended up shutting down bits of my soul. As a result, I grew apart from most of my college friends. They were used to me being earthy, funny, transparent, sure a bit 'religious', but someone you could talk with about anything. Suddenly they had instead someone who spoke brightly of all she was learning from the Lord as her world crumbled. It didn't fit.

As you can imagine, emotional comas and long-distance friendships don’t work very well. One of my closest friends, Philospher really, really tried. She was wonderful after Mom died. She sent me The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning, she continued my Mom’s tradition of sending me children’s books for Christmas and birthdays, she called often. Every time I got off the phone with her it took me a few days to regain equilibrium (a fragile balance as I stood on an abyss of emotion without any real relational support). I had lots of prayer from amazing people, but not many safe places to be sad. Philosopher was trying to help me be real in my sorrow, but I didn’t have anywhere else to do that at the time, so it was easier to stay shut down and resist her efforts.

For some strange reason, we grew apart.

We tried for the next couple years as I found a safer community and started becoming ‘myself’ again. But it was hard to reknit our friendship’s ragged edges long distance. During our time in Baltimore, she wrote me a letter about getting married and losing her Dad. I wrote a long letter back sympathizing and telling about my emotional journies. I never heard from her again.

During my four recent days of glorious unemployment, I saw her name on an on-line networking list. I sent a tentative email and received an enthusiastic one in return. Wednesday we met for lunch. And picked up where we left off during college. She tried to write back to me after my long heart-felt letter, but was embarrassed by her own melodrama as she mourned her father. "I wish you'd sent the letter," I answered. "It's still around somewhere," she responded, "I'll show it to you sometime."

The weird part is that it’s hard to convey how whole my soul feels with this raveled edge knitted up. Very few of my current close friends know anything about her. Jrex knows, and he’s really happy for me, but it’s not like I can run around saying, “Philospher is my friend again!” and have instant, “That’s great!” reactions from my friends. I have to give them the whole long boring speech I just gave you.

I’ll just hug it to myself and inflict it on the five people who read my blog…

12 comments:

Rachel said...

That was a sweet, moving story. I am so glad you were able to reconnect with her again.

And I know the type of church of which you speak. :p Glad you escaped intact.

Aimee said...

Wow. I think it's wonderful you found each other and were able to reconnect again! True friendship is a gift.

Thank you for sharing this!

scarp said...

Funny- I reconnected with an old friend recently too. Not quite to the depth that you did, but it did tie up an unraveled edge in me. And, like you, it takes a whole long story to explain to most people, as I hadn't talked to this person in almost 10 years - so only a coupld of old friends know anything about it. All that to say - I appreciate the joy you have and am happy for you to have reconnected with someone important to you.

bg's Little Sis said...

So happy for you OTR! How wonderful for you...makes me think of some ends that I need to tie up myself!

Lots of love,
lil'sis

Snickollet said...

There is such a joy in reconnecting with a friend. I'm so happy for both of you--your lives will clearly be the richer. Kudos to you for reaching out to her.

Anonymous said...

Six.

Great news.

Here's to reunification.

Anonymous said...

Seven... love the story.

OTR sister said...

Great insight.

crajee chick said...

thanks for the encouraging story and i'm excited for you!!! i hope i am able to have my "raveled edge knitted up" with some folks in my life in the near future..

Sandra said...

Its great that you got to reconnect to a friend. I talk to 3 people from high school, and very rarely one from college. I think that is the hardest part of being alone with Jasmine right now, I don't have anyone to talk to. I don't really know anyone where I live :( I need to get out more.

Mama Nabi said...

Dude - I better have been one of the five inflicted...

I love that story... I have been that friend who reached out and I've also been that friend who resisted. None of mine turned out as well as yours... but this post gives me hope!

Beloved said...

That's wonderful. I just heard from a friend who I'd lost touch with for only a year and I was so thrilled. I can only imagine how you're feeling.