A Place in My Heart

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.

14 thoughts on “A Place in My Heart

  1. Kayla says:

    I think out of all the blogs I read about child sponsorship, yours is my favorite. It’s just so real and honest. Your love for these kids is so evident.

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    • Emily says:

      Thank you so much! That really made my day 🙂 I try to be as real as possible and still respect the privacy of others. I am really really happy that you enjoy reading it!

      Like

  2. Hez says:

    As I started to read your post, I could see a portion of my life also in your story. What an amazing journey you have ahead of you with both of your girls…and young man. I love how God brings us an opportunity to love such amazing children, and to receive so much love from them in return!

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    • Emily says:

      :o) I agree – it amazes me that God showed me where to pour my love and in return I’m getting so much more love than I could have imagined. It is definitely helping my healing process.

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  3. Amanda says:

    I really like this post, and I completely identify with it. I’m definitely the same way – being introverted, and taking the loss of friendships really seriously (and hard). The relationships I’ve been building with our Compassion kids have helped me through the loss of my dad a few months ago, and I feel closer to some of my kids than to most of my friends. Sometimes I feel like that’s a little weird, but then posts like this remind me that it’s not weird at all. These children are special to us, and we are special to them. It’s beautiful. Thanks!

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    • Emily says:

      I’m so sorry about the loss of your Dad. As a Daddy’s girl, myself, I can’t imagine how hard that loss is. But, I’m glad you can identify with my post. Sometimes I feel like it’s weird to be so close to the kids, too – especially since we’ve never ‘really’ met, but, it works, you know? And I completely agree, these children are oh so special and have helped me more than I have ever helped them 🙂

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  4. Audra says:

    This was posted ages ago, but I’m following Grace for the Good Girl, and the blog you posted there linked to this one. And after reading this, I have the oddest feeling of needing to say something and having no idea what to say. 🙂

    I experienced this kind of loss once. The loss of my best friend after fifteen years of friendship. And it’s really only recently that I’ve started to come to terms with what you wrote there, that some people can stay in your heart, but not in your life. We didn’t have a clear cut ending, really. We had a major breaking point, and then stayed friends for several years after that, but it was never the same. And then one day you wake up and realize it’s been months and months since you’ve talked, and you have no idea who that person is anymore, the person who you once knew better than anyone. No matter how long it’s been, that’s a hard place to be.

    And on those hard days, I’m so thankful for a Father who places people in our lives who are meant to stay there. To stay not only in our heart, but in our journey. To hold our memories and our hands. I don’t know where you are on the healing journey today, but I just feel compelled to say that I’ve been there, and that you’re not alone in that. I pray that the Father continues to bless you with people that you can love and serve in your fiercely loyal way. Blessings!

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    • Emily says:

      Audra, Thank you – really and truly thank you for posting that. I’m in the “no idea who that person is anymore” stage and it is so odd, and at times, seems very lonely. After having such a long friendship and then loosing it – it’s easy to feel like I’m alone in walking this path. This person, there are times when I question if I every really knew him, or if it was all just a cover – I’m not sure if the friendship was even as real as I once thought it was. But, like you said, I’m so thankful for the ones God has sent to stay – the ones that pick up the pieces with me and help me create a new, more beautiful puzzle. So thank you for posting and reminding me that I am not alone in this walk. 🙂

      Like

  5. Jessica says:

    The loss of friendships has been on my mind a lot lately and I was just thinking about blogging about it for today. The loss of friendships is so difficult. I also am dealing with the loss of friendships that I have had since high school. It’s one of the reasons I am writing my series on Letting Go for this month.

    Like

    • Emily says:

      I will have to go check out your series now. The friendship I lost was also one that I had had since high school, so I feel your pain. Glad you stopped by and reminded me that I’m not alone in this difficulty.

      Like

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