By Theresa Boedeker
Does the pain of friendship keep you from making new connections?
I was reading a blog post about moving and missing old friends. I can relate to that! Been there and done that eight times. I started laughing to myself, thinking about a comment that was forming in my wrinkly gray matter.
As I scrolled down to leave my thoughts, one comment caught my attention. It wiped the grin from my face.
A lady told how a close friendship had abruptly and painfully ended 15 years ago. She had been so hurt that she had never attempted to make another friend. She ended by saying maybe it was time to reach out again.
Pain can cause us to miss out on what we need.
Fifteen years? That’s approximately one-fifth of her life spent avoiding friendships.
Shock and grief engulfed me. I tried to imagine the pain that had shut her off. I wanted to hug her and cry with her and tell her that yes, enough time had passed. I wanted to encourage her to surrender her pain to God and take that scary leap of faith and reach out and form a friendship. Maybe two or three.
I wanted to tell her that yes, friendships with others are messy and can hurt, but they can also be so wonderful, nurturing, and exhilarating. They fill a void in our soul that craves connection with another woman.
Pain can leave us fearful, and fear can rob us of what we need.
This poor woman had been moving through life without a friend. Fear and pain had kept her from experiencing the joys of companionship.
I left a comment. She needed more, but how does one reach across the internet and hug another or really connect to a soul so that one-on-one bonding and healing takes place?
Her comment haunted me in the wee hours of darkness. During routine tasks that make up so much of our life. After tea with a friend. While preparing a talk about women and friendships.
Multiple times her comment ran through my mind, and I wondered about the gaps and silences in her brief words. I thought about the joy and love she had missed. The comradery she had forgone.
Friendship fears rob us of our future.
I couldn’t solve her problem, fix her past, or heal her heart. But I could learn from her.
I committed to spending more time nurturing and pursuing my friendships. I committed to not being so fearful in relationships.
Life passes quickly. I did not want to one day regret that I had chosen aloneness, the easier, the less emotional, the no-hurts, the comfortable, and myself over relationships with others.
I did not want to choose finishing my to-do list, chasing a clean house, or focusing on work or play to the exclusion of participating in community with other women. I did not want to lie dying in bed wishing someone would come and hold my hand for my last few hours, but having no kindred spirits to call.
Release fear and step into the blessings of friendship.
I don’t know where you are in life with your friendships. But I know a good friend is a treasure. A deep friendship takes time, and more time. Vulnerability is good for friendships. Humility is a necessary ingredient.
I know that sometimes the person you think will be your new BF sizzles into nothing, and the woman who you think you have nothing in common with can become your new best friend.
We can come up with a lot of excuses related to friendships. Lack of time. Don’t need one. Don’t want to commit. Women can be mean. Lack of self-esteem. Past hurts.
But excuses are just excuses. They never move us closer to a goal; they never solve a problem or fill a need.
God designed us to live in community with others, even if it is loud, messy, and full of surprises.
One thing I know for certain: I want to live in a community of other women. I want to laugh with sisters of Christ and love messy women like myself, because friendships grow and change each of us for the better.
Wife Step: What relationship fear is holding you back? What can you do to step forward and nurture your friendships?
Theresa Boedeker has been married to her husband, her complete opposite, for over 30 years. They live in the Midwest and have two children, 15 years apart, and a few grandkids. Theresa daily hunts for humor and tries to bring forth laughter from others. She is passionate about helping women smash lies with God’s truth. Overcome shame. Learn to laugh at life and themselves. Notice God’s love and grace. And not be afraid of making mistakes. She unwraps life and faith at TheresaBoedeker.com. When she is not writing, she enjoys doing creative things like cooking, making jewelry, and taking photos of flowers (they never run from the picture).