Reconciliation: Part One
When I was seven years old, I met my best friend. She was new to our school and we just clicked. Between school and church, we spent six days a week together for years. Often, we would beg our mothers to let us hang out on Saturdays because we would miss each other. We thought the same thoughts. We were kindred spirits. We bought the same bathing suit one season without even being together. We stayed close through junior high, through high school, when she moved six hours away with her family, when we began college, when she moved out of the country, when I attended college in Texas, when we both graduated college, and when we both moved to new states to start post college life. Her family was an extension of my family and vice versa. It was the closest thing to having a sister in this lifetime. Simon loved her and knew she held part of my heart in the purest, deepest way that old friends do.
Things changed after we both married. Our relationship fractured and I was the cause. We did not speak for the next seven years. It was a complicated time of wrestling with ideals and the tensions of growing up. I commend those friendships that can weather the years and the changes that life brings. It wrecks me if I dwell on the hurts that weighed on our hearts during that time. It became slightly easier to move on each year that passed. Life happened. We lived on opposite coasts. We advanced our careers. We became mothers. We both secretly stalked each other’s Facebooks and were kept semi-updated via our heartbroken mothers who desperately wanted us to reconcile. Simon was saddened by the situation, understood the complex emotions involved, and never spoke an unkind word about her as the years wore on.
Then, Simon was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Random people were reaching out to extend their support but I never expected the email I received on June 20, 2014.
“It has been so long, but you have played a big role in my life and I still think of you often. I heard the news about Simon today and am just heartbroken for you and your family. I don’t know what the right thing to say is in this situation, but I wanted to reach out and extend my support and love. If there is ANYTHING I can do to help in this incredibly difficult time, please don’t hesitate…I know that you have the support and love from so many, please know you have it from me as well. It’s all water under the bridge. I would love nothing more than to give you a big hug and move forward. Please know that I’m here for you. A call, a text, a visit…whatever you need.”
A few more emails were exchanged and our friendship was on the path to restoration. When I told Simon, he was so moved. All he could say was, “Wow.” She was the only person on earth I was not reconciled with. Simon’s diagnosis brought healing. In the despair, there was joy.
Now that he is gone and I have more clarity to process all that has happened, it seems ridiculous that anyone would take for granted something as sacred as a dear friend. But I simply did not have that perspective before. I do now. The freedom I feel through this reconciliation cannot be adaquately expressed through words. I implore you to consider those you have not reconciled with and do it. Life is short. The physical stress and mental hurt caused by unreconciled relationships can shorten your life more. You can’t control how the other person or people will respond, but you have the choice to make it right. Forgive. Or ask to be forgiven. Don’t let pride, fear, or other emotions stand in your way. My best friend and I are beginning to fix a relationship that we thought was impossible to fix.
Part Two of this post will be a guest post from her perspective. Here we are below, circa 1994-ish. Yes, I have braces, I’m wearing too much neon, and I’m reading The Babysitter’s Club. Don’t EVEN act like your preteen years were any less awkward.