Nearly a year ago I found myself with a gaping hole in my life. My very best friend of 10 years and I had a conversation that we had both been avoiding for too long. Deep down, it is something we never wanted to address, but both knew needed to be said, and, in the end, we walked away from our friendship and I walked away from a relationship that had occupied my heart for far too long. To say I’ve struggled over the past year would be a bit of an understatement. There have been many days where, if I could have spent the day asleep in bed, I would have. There have been times where I’ve felt extremely hurt, horribly angry, and deeply sad – all at once.
By nature, I am not a people person. I would quickly tell you I am an introvert. I shy away from new people. I prefer small groups. I stay at home, a lot. I’ve never had very many friends at one time. I identify only a small percentage of my acquaintances as ‘friends’ and the loss of any one of them is an earth-shaking event in my world. To lose the closest was a near disaster.
To look back over 10 years and be forced to say goodbye to a person I’m not sure really ever existed left me struggling for my own identity. An identity that depended on no one other than myself. What was my favorite color? What did I like to eat, again? What were my hobbies? I wasn’t sure. I had unconsciously been conforming for years and suddenly, my mold was gone. He was my world, and my world, in what I assume was an effort to avoid hurting me, crashed down around me.
I was hopeful that despite it all, and considering everything we had been through in the past, we would be able to still maintain some sort of friendship. For a month we tried. For a month we still talked on the phone and tried to work through the awkward hurt. And then I made a decision. For the sake of my heart I decided that I didn’t want to be the one to initiate contact anymore. I felt like it had been mainly me making plans to ‘hang-out,’ making the phone calls, or making the effort. So I stopped. I resisted the urge to pick up the phone. I fought the temptation to send a message on facebook, I refused to be the one making that initial contact. I felt like if he wanted to still be my friend, he would make that effort.
It’s been a year – I haven’t heard from him.
Slowly, I’ve come to realize:
some people can stay in your heart, but not in your life
I’ve began to heal. I once read that for every year of a relationship it takes one month to recover from the break. While I won’t say I’m necessarily happy at any given moment. I will say that I am no longer constantly unhappy. I’ve slowly been able to fill the seemingly endless amount of free time I have with projects that have helped me tremendously. At the beginning of September, I came across several blogs that challenged me as a Compassion Sponsor. I realized that there was always going to be people with broken hearts, and I had the unique opportunity to help a few of them. My church’s children’s program, Awana, had been sponsoring Helen Angela since 2006. As the commander of the club, I was her correspondent. But I was a horrible correspondent. I wrote only when she wrote. About once a year, as a club, I would get the kids to draw her pictures and write simple letters, but I didn’t exactly make an effort to build a relationship with her. In March of this year, God spoke to me and I decided to sponsor a child through Compassion on my own. At the time, I remember thinking that if I sponsored one, then I would be better at remember to write Helen, too, because I’d be writing to two people. So I search through the website, and found the cutest girl who looked so very happy and just happened to share my name. It was a no brain-er, I quickly signed up to sponsor Emily. But, as with Helen, I wrote her a couple of letters when I sponsored her and then slacked off. Before September, neither her nor Helen had heard from me since the beginning of March.
But, after realizing the importance of those letter to my girls, and after having God truly tug on my heart, I began to approach my sponsorship with a passion that I hadn’t had for years. I signed up to be a correspondent sponsor and received Josué’s information about a week later. I soon came to find that the void my friend had left in me made room in my heart for these precious children. They gave me something to focus my love on – they wanted and readily accepted my love. They helped me heal. They’ve found a place in my heart and my life.