losing friends

i was looking back in my e-mail for an old logo, and i found pictures of cole. i had searched for them for months on my phone and computer files when he passed away in 2008, and i couldn’t find them. i beat myself up for so long thinking i had deleted them. i nearly passed out upon seeing them today. i will treasure them as long as i can keep them.

it’s funny how things become like little idols once someone is no longer present. how words become vow. how we squint to keep fuzzy memories. a note, a photo, a present, a movie ticket becomes a treasure. when cole died, when wesley died, when my grandparents died–when i broke up with K & J years ago, i realized the fragility of relationships. the linear nature of time made me grow to expect you and maybe even resent you each day, but the separation of time from your presence made me appreciate and possibly even idolize you.

right before hospice came into their house, meme told me to watch cartoons, because it would keep my heart feeling light when things were dark. i’ll catch myself whistling like my papa or getting a little excited when i see a gray headed man riding a wal-mart cart. it makes me smile to see mcdonald’s stickers for all the times dada wanted to but never got to take me on saturday mornings when i was a kid. when i see boys riding on lawn mowers like the last time i saw cole riding one against the sun a few days before the accident. when i see a scary movie or a brown haired boy picking on a girl as they walk down the neighborhood street, i think of wesley and me.

and when i look out at the water, a little to the right, i see that dock. i’ve only sat on it once. as ridiculous as it truly is, it’s one of the reasons i moved here. it wasn’t that it was you, though you are still the most significant relationship i’ve ever had. it was the hope in that moment that we looked at the stars subsequent to that eloquently-prosed, misspelled letter you gave me. one of the most romantic moments of my life. i was so young at heart, and you were not–and that is why we said goodbye. we were friends for years prior to being a we and an us, and i remember our hesitation to make a romance out of such a great thing. you made me feel beautiful and worthy and secure and understood. it took time that you were willing to take. but i often wonder if i would give back everything that you gave me, all of the hopes and expectations for someone similar to you but one who led in Christ and supported my need to be a dreamer. if i would give it all up and reverse it all just to have the friendship back. just because the chemistry is there, should you pursue it? i can count on one hand the number of romantic relationships i’ve had. one of them was a bad idea. one of them was a not-so-serious rebound, two of them changed me for good though they were hard to lose, and one i’m not certain of the effect/outcome yet.

i don’t want fleeting relationships and friendships. i don’t want bitterness and loss. i don’t make friends or start relationships because i need someone. i’m used to being alone. losing my family, cole and wesley through death were hard things to conquer in my soul. losing friends through arguments and “endings” is so tiringly pointless having experienced such close irreversible loss in life. having lost a few significant relationships and friendships both irreversible and not so irreversible, i’ve found solace in discovering that they’re never really lost. the material things like photos and the sweet little words are precious reminders, but as long as i’m alive–“there is no was,” as i have said before.

the people i have carefully chosen to pursue good relationships/friendships with, i will carry them with me throughout my life with confidence. how they treated me in bright times and how they treated me in dark times will affect me as i walk through my life. it’s never over until i’m over. i allowed you into my life and my heart, and pieces of you will stay–it’s inevitable.

broken hopes and reels of memories are impossible to pack into a suitcase and carry around as baggage, so i learned early in friendship to accept and appreciate the impact of people on my life no matter their coming or going. it made it easier to forgive. it makes it easier to love someone now not making an enemy of my past. it makes it easier to appreciate the past relationships of people in my life, because i know even if they try to hide and avoid it–they have ultimately been affected by their past.

the hardest part about all of it is that i hate that your presence is not present. if i thought enough of you to choose you, then your friendship was ultra-valuable. i want it in my life. though my non-linear concept of time is unconventional, i wish others were spontaneous enough to see the value of it. can we not forget the ending and remember what we appreciated about each other? can a friend forgive a friend for an offense and remember why they bonded to begin with? what good comes of the timebetween after clarity and healing? awkwardness and loss? the unnecessary duo that preceeds pride and stubborness in the issues of people ’round the globe.

when i leave the world, i hope everyone i’ve known well enough will well-enough know that i had the humility to right a wrong with them and the honesty to let them know how i truly cared about them. i can’t force anyone to be my friend, but if i think you’re worth it i will at least try to convince you.

“what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

today is the greatest

everyone should have a blog post with a smashing pumpkin title. today may not really be the greatest. i sat at work for eleven hours yesterday, forced myself to talk to my best friends instead of hiding like i normally do when i’m down, i wrote a lot, and i slept for twelve and a half hours. that’s right, i went to work and still slept over half the day. i consider it a record. this morning i woke up after that coma with knots in my stomach again. i gagged a few times as i was getting ready, and then i looked at myself in the mirror.

i’ve been alive for 23.5 years, and for most of those years i’ve worked hard to make a positive impact on the world around me. i want to encourage people when i see they’re down. i want to share my mistakes to help others not have the pains i have. i’d drop everything to help a person in need. i’ve been  loyal to my best friends, some who have stuck around for 12 years or more–anna, casey, lindsey, kristin. i haven’t been a perfect friend, but i’ve been loyal. i listen, i care,  i make them laugh. i take their pains on me when they’re hurting. i may say and do dumb stuff occassionally like every imperfect person, but i’m humble enough to apologize and take they’re forgiveness as an opportunity to be better to them in the future.

i needed to look at myself in the mirror this morning and feel positive.

i’ve been down, because i’ve done everything i can to gain forgiveness from someone i care about and it just hasn’t happened yet. then something wild happened to me yesterday.  i wrote a blog post last week attempting to be funny, and it really hurt a couple of friends of mine who thought they were my target. i got defensive about it, but it’s been bothering me really badly. i hated the idea that something i had said in jest had hurt the core of someone. i may be sarcastic, but i have a really sensitive heart. hurting someone really hurts me. after a week, i talked things out with the friend i unintentionally hurt yesterday. i asked for her forgiveness and she gave it to me–and we both felt better.

and then i realized that it isn’t just a trite old sunday school saying. forgiveness isn’t just for the person who gives it. it’s also for the person who asks for it. searching my heart for honest repentance and having the courage to put my pride aside to give a humble apology, i’ve grown as a person. i may not ever receive true forgiveness from people i’ve asked in my past. things would be easier if i could, but it’s not always possible.

for me, accepting that idea is almost as hard as finding the means to apologize when i’m wrong. i hate hurting people. i hate being unable to resolve it. it tears up my life knowing i’ve affected someone negatively, especially when i didn’t mean to. but i must give up my impatience and give things time. after a week of not knowing how to approach the whole blog ordeal, it approached me, and i now feel free of something that was burdening me inside.

that freedom is inspiring. i know the Lord wants what’s best for me. i know what he wants me to do with my life, and i know i’ve been complacent this year and blamed it on my job and other circumstances mentioned in previous blog posts. i’m glad i’m not wallowing in self-pity today. i’ve been doing it for a year now over different people and different situations, and it’s a tired act.

there’s nothing to be sad about. yesterday cannot be relived, and taking anxiety medicine to avoid feeling what today has to offer is just stealing time. the Lord forgives me, i’ve asked for the forgiveness of people i’ve affected, and i am forgiving myself. there’s nothing else needed but to keep going in that direction.

if i make it to being old, i know i’ll look back on a full life. i just want it to be a life full of good, not bad. i’d like to see the world, but if i rarely make it out of albany, i’d be ok. i want to have watched my family grow and my parents smile. i want to make them proud by the life i live, the job i have, the wife i become, the mother i long to be. i want to know the Lord more each day and share Him with others by how i act, not confuse them like i have with my behavior lately. and i hope as old lady erin looks back at the choices i made this year, i might not remember how dark some spots were because so much good will have occurred to overshadow them. or maybe i’ll remember today and the last few days and feel satisfied that something so seemingly trivial changed my direction in the best of ways.

something bad may happen tomorrow to shake up my world. something good may happen tomorrow to resolve a hurt. i can’t predict how the Lord will shape my life, but i can rest knowing that if i listen and follow that He has a plan for me that is beyond the dreams i described in the paragraph above. so today might not be the greatest in some respects, but today can be great because for the first time in over twenty months i don’t feel so aimless as an individual anymore. and for that i can be joyful today.

“it’s only over when you quit, and you ain’t no quitter, honey.” (thanks, brian.)