So lately I've been in one of those melancholy moods. I'm sure the fact that we've had our first taste of winter helped that. Granted, the weather's back up a bit during the day, but everybody gets in a funk every now and then, and I've found that this funk often throws me into some of my best thinking.
So anyway, lately I've been catching up with some old friends. Of course, by old friends, I mean friends from high school, and those from my first couple of years of college. We moved around alot when I was young, so I didn't make really close friends until my late teen years. As I'm only twenty-six, some people may not think those friends are really all that "old," but it's one of those cases where you're really close and for one reason or another you lose touch, keep meaning to call, etc. etc.
My girlfriends from high school never missed a beat. We were all fairly close, having all been home schooled, and it's as if we never lost touch (only a lot has happened since then obviously). It's so nice to see that the growing pains, stupid mistakes, and constant self-questioning are a common theme among us. Whether it's the natural sheltering that happens to home schooled girls, or just a product of being young and naive, I don't know. But it's almost therapeutic to see that someone else went through similar crap to what you did, and thinks the same way about things.
But while those girlfriends were relatively easy to find and get back in contact with, I can't help but think of those whom I'd met after high school - friends that were just as great, but for some reason, I've lost touch with. And of course, now that I'm married and living in a totally different country (temporarily, thank goodness), it can seem overwhelming knowing that there's no really good way to get in touch with them even if I could.
To the girlfriend who was there for me while I was moving out on my own, whose cell phone number I still have, and could easily call: "Hi there. It's Janie. Remember me? Last time I talked to you, you were having a baby, and I never got by to see her because I was planning a wedding, finishing my senior year of college, and dealing with general drama in my life. I know that's no excuse, because if I was a good friend, I would've made time. But can you find it in your heart to talk to me, now that I have the time? I know you're dealing with a two year-old now, and there's no way we can just go out for coffee or something, but is now a good time to talk?"
How horrible it makes me feel to know that I've let her down. Sure, we played phone tag for about six months after her baby was born, and neither of us are the phone type. She and I both took our time calling each other back, but it always worked for us. The last time I thought of calling her, it was about two months before I was leaving the country, and I felt like a heel trying to keep up a friendship, just to move away soon after.
Then there's the girlfriend who's a couple years older, who moved away after graduating from college. We used to keep in touch by phone every couple of weeks, and emailed regularly. Somehow, the emails became less and less frequent, and eventually, I had a hard time figuring out how to contact her. I always had her email, and we were both "too busy" to respond quickly, then forgot to respond, and it became a relationship of forwards and random emails here and there. She was a great shoulder to lean on when I was a senior in high school, and had the biggest crush of my life. She was logical, like me, and we understood each other. Even though we couldn't be logical about our own love lives, we made sense of each other's, and listened and said what needed to be said. How did I let that go?
There's the girlfriend who I met in college, who was in a few of my classes. We hit it off immediately, and even though we only had a few classes together, we knew the other understood us. We didn't have classes together for about a year and only saw each other in the hallways for a while. Then, I found out she was dating my best guy friend, and I couldn't have been happier! We had another class together during the semester she was graduating and planning a wedding, and I made the cakes for their wedding. After they moved, I kept up with them occassionally, but because her husband was friends with my boyfriend, any time they'd talk, my boyfriend would tell me they said hi, and eventually that was the only way I kept up with them. When I broke up with said boyfriend, I talked to them once more, but let what someone else said manipulate me into thinking they were mad at me, and I left it up to them to call me if they wanted. Big mistake.
This past April, I got back in touch with her, but only through email, and even then, it's scarce. Unfortunately, from what she said, it seems that my one-time best guy friend in the world is actually upset with me, and I've not garnered the courage to call and chat with him. One of these days, I will call and at least talk to him and see what's really going on, because he was an amazing friend. I have to pray through that though, and gather the courage to possibly open up some old wounds. But it's worth it.
Then there's the couple I was best friends with during college. They were part of a whole group of friends that used to run together. After I broke up with above boyfriend and was newly married (and all the drama that ensued with that situation), I tried to get together with them. Knowing that they would want to discuss some of the drama with previous boyfriend (they had only heard his side), I was willing to talk to them about it. Unfortunately, it apparently wasn't what they wanted to hear. Though they said that they still wanted to keep in touch, it was obvious that they were bitter about the situation. I have always questioned whether I should've handled the situation differently. I tried not to involve mutual friends for this reason, but had my hand forced, and lost what I thought were good friends. In this case, maybe one day they'll see the real picture. But it still makes me sad, knowing how much we all went through together, and how when I did something that I felt was best for me, because another of their friends didn't like it, I ended up being the bad guy. I guess that's usually the case when you finally wise up. But I still love them and miss them.
On a good note, I recently got back in touch with a guy friend from several years ago. He and I had met at a church conference and called each other regularly. I started dating a guy who was not comfortable with that, and I ended up just not calling any more. I found him online, and when I realized all that had gone on in his life in the five years since we'd talked, I felt awful! He had some important moments in his life that I had missed. Moments that I thought I would never miss in a friend's life, but I did. Luckily he understood, and wanted to know about my life in the past five years as well, but I still felt awful. I let a guy come between me and a good friend, and he was not the only one. I am only now realizing that my priorities were in the completely wrong place in my early twenties.
These aren't the only friends that I've lost touch with. There are many many more. Overall, I've learned many lessons through these lost relationships. Even more so now that I'm in another country, with limited relationships available. I'm beginning to realize the truth in the song, "Make new friends" that we were taught in preschool. I'm learning just how important relationships are. I'm also learning that you can't cater to everyone, please everyone, agree with everyone, or avoid conflict in friendships. I've learned how important it is to maintain my own friends, apart from the guy I'm dating/I marry. I'm also learning that though I love my husband, and we love spending tons of time together, and he's a great listener, I can't depend on him to meet all of my relational needs. I need friendships outside of my marriage, if for any reason, just so I don't drive my husband crazy with my constant "chit chat" gab!
Anyway, though it isn't New Years' yet, my resolution is to work on the relationships I have, had, and to gather more of them in general. Friendships are hard, and there is so much more involved than just the stuff I put in this post. But they are essential because God made us social creatures (especially women, lol), and worth it.