The Death of a Friendship

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For almost the last year I have been grieving the gradual death of a friendship, trying as I might to revive something that just is flat out dead. The reality of that death hit me hard this weekend, much like any death would. I had to come to the very real and grave decision to let this friendship die. Several friends I have discussed this with over the course of the year were encouraging and supportive, where this friendship had been concerned, allowing me to talk through it and fight to sustain it.

We don’t talk much about this really, as we grow more into being seen as having all these friendships, connections and followers in our social media world. I see books pouring out about connection and engagement, craving it with one another. That is good y’all, I really do champion that. But I think we forget the ugly side of it too, that some friendships do die, even after years of relational contact. Some glide away, rolling in and out like the tide on a lazy day at the beach.

But some? Well you find yourself grieving and worrying, pouring too much and not enough into, and finding yourself being torn further by keeping them alive and sustaining them. But it must be done. Some times that means we are the ones who have to kill it. We have to put it down to put it out of it’s misery, and quite possibly our own. You shouldn’t be filled with regret after leaving time with that friend, ever. That’s not a friendship worth keeping alive.

If I am filled with regret after time spent with this friend, why do I continue to allow this friendship to stay alive?

That’s the question I had to ask myself yesterday. It’s the one I have consistently had to ask myself over the last year of seeing this friendship die and going back with the paddles to bring it back to life. Dear friends would say, “It’s for the best, let it die.” I would champion on, trying to find redemption, pointing to times where encouragement and respect were at the forefront. But those snippets were small and distant the longer this friendship continued on life support.

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is the ability to grieve something like this, and then move forward from it. Just as I talked about One Way Friendships before, I think we have to be a friend to ourselves first in order to realize that some deaths are inevitable in friendships, and that we can be better from it. I saw that over the course of this year I have forfeited some of my very own words, truth and love in order to give life to a friendship that should have had the plug pulled.

Grieve the loss, but don’t let the nostalgia of a seasonal friendship deceive you into thinking it’s a lifelong one. As has been said before, some friends are here for a reason, others for a season, and still others for a lifetime. But for our own good, and the good of our other friendships, don’t try to make one of those into something are not. Allow them to die, grieve the loss, and forge into relationships meant for you in your season, for whatever reason, and pouring into those lifelong ones which enjoy all the stages of life, even the grieving of death.

On Good Friday

This post originally published in 2016. As I have journeyed through Holy Week this year with intentionality I felt this post said more than I could write today…


It’s a grey morning. Oddly the birds that have been chirping the alarm of morning are silent today. There’s just an eerie silence cast over this morning.

My day beckons to get busy, with errands and the gym, lists and emails. Yet here I sit.

I sit in Good Friday, where many often question the goodness of this day. We rushedly point to Sunday, of the hope coming, the joy awaiting the sunrise of Resurrection reminded.

But I don’t want to rush through this because in order for there to be joy in Sunday, there must be mourning and grief on Friday. There must be the inner realization and confession of my heart. The cross, that which brought death and mockery onto Christ, was mine. It should have been.

My distance from God? That too was mine to address.

Yet He is there, in my place, in all of our places, because of love unfailing. Because of the unconditional pursuit He has for us. To bring us back, to bring us in, and to be the way for us to God. He bridged the distance as He anguished those six hours on this day so 2000+ years ago. He closed the gap, and gave up His life in my place.

Reading Matthew 27 is difficult. It is hard for me to see that which I caused on the landscape of eternity, Christ wondering why God had forsaken Him there. “It is because of me,” I want to tell Him. But He knows. Yet in this Friday mourning I sit, I know that He does not want me to put back on the guilt and shame of sin. He never asks me to carry that again, as He took it on there on that cross. He took on the taunts and mocking of those who would mock me, those He came to save as well.

I have talked about the redemptive nature of Good Friday before, but today, this Good Friday I sit in the story of it. The reality of what this day was, what it is for us. All of us. There is grief, mourning, the reality of sin and the cost which was paid for us. His death lingers over this day.

Before I try to push that truth aside and get lost in the busy of the “other” of a Friday, I want to sit in Good Friday. That it is good for me to recall and focus on what today is, what it means, Who He is, and Who I say He is. Today I rest in the gravity of Friday, the message of Who Christ is on the cross.

On Good Friday

It’s a grey morning. Oddly the birds that have been chirping the alarm of morning are silent today. There’s just an eerie silence cast over this morning.

My day beckons to get busy, with errands and the gym, lists and emails. Yet here I sit.

I sit in Good Friday, where many often question the goodness of this day. We rushedly point to Sunday, of the hope coming, the joy awaiting the sunrise of Resurrection reminded.

But I don’t want to rush through this because in order for there to be joy in Sunday, there must be mourning and grief on Friday. There must be the inner realization and confession of my heart. The cross, that which brought death and mockery onto Christ, was mine. It should have been.

My distance from God? That too was mine to address.

Yet He is there, in my place, in all of our places, because of love unfailing. Because of the unconditional pursuit He has for us. To bring us back, to bring us in, and to be the way for us to God. He bridged the distance as He anguished those six hours on this day so 2000+ years ago. He closed the gap, and gave up His life in my place.

Reading Matthew 27 is difficult. It is hard for me to see that which I caused on the landscape of eternity, Christ wondering why God had forsaken Him there. “It is because of me,” I want to tell Him. But He knows. Yet in this Friday mourning I sit, I know that He does not want me to put back on the guilt and shame of sin. He never asks me to carry that again, as He took it on there on that cross. He took on the taunts and mocking of those who would mock me, those He came to save as well.

I have talked about the redemptive nature of Good Friday before, but today, this Good Friday I sit in the story of it. The reality of what this day was, what it is for us. All of us. There is grief, mourning, the reality of sin and the cost which was paid for us. His death lingers over this day.

Before I try to push that truth aside and get lost in the busy of the “other” of a Friday, I want to sit in Good Friday. That it is good for me to recall and focus on what today is, what it means, Who He is, and Who I say He is. Today I rest in the gravity of Friday, the message of Who Christ is on the cross.

Emotions and Grief

“I’m just letting you know I’ll cry at your funeral.”

We were driving back to Knoxville earlier this week when we had this conversation. We had just been to the funeral of our uncle, heard the words of friends and family extending their sorrow and grief to our family. I had just had my grandmother, a woman not known for her compassion or emotions, gripping my back from her wheelchair crying into my ear that she loved me, she loved both of her girls.

And here we sat, going down the dark interstate, talking about how we’d cry at each other’s funerals…because this is how our family does emotions. I’ll be honest that I am the crier in the family. I’m the emotional one, my mom can attest to that fact, dating back to my tumultuous teen years.

As I listened to the stories of how my uncle sang in church, how he competed in an ice cream contest and won as a ten year old (and also diabetic), and how he was made new when he awoke in the presence of God Sunday I couldn’t help but be overcome with emotion. This family isn’t a close one…we don’t operate that way outside of my parents house. We fight and we nag each other. We judge and we cast blame. I think many families are that way, for better and for worse. We grow up in it and think it’s normal, we learn to operate within it and accept it. Then we arrive at these hard, grievous moments (two over the last 18 months in our family) and can’t quite figure out how to process life, death. We hear about our relative and didn’t know those things or we find out there’s another side to someone we thought we knew.

I am learning, at the old age of 33, that part of me is grafted and crafted by my family. I thought on this fact as my sister and I conversed in that car ride Wednesday night. She’s the analytical one who will always work in a process, where I am the wildly feeling one who is sometimes ridiculous with emotions and lives into them. But we both agreed that we would cry at one another’s funerals because that’s how family is, that’s how my family is…we process in conversation, in quiet, in our own way.

We choose our ways of feeling, grieving, caring and loving. For me, that means talking about it, processing out loud, crying (a little more than I’d like sometimes) and choosing quiet and alone. For our family, it means maybe not talking about it as much, about the loss or the grief. Instead we talk about memories, we break the awkward silence with moments of joy. It’s knowing that in our grief there is rejoicing. For we find going about our daily business is often easier than giving way to the reality of the absence of our loved one, their presence still felt even though they no longer are.

Trees of Change

I love the fall, especially in the South. No where else can you go and see the beauty that explodes from a season change quite like the South in the fall. It truly is stunning.

The other evening I went for a run in the neighborhoods surrounding campus. I could not help but notice how different the scenery looked, and just how varied each tree and plant seemed to be. I had to stop a couple of times to snag the photos below of those two trees specifically.

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The reason I was so struck by these two in particular was the way in which they were progressing in their change. They were in degrees of change, at different areas of their tree life. It was stunning to behold because I don’t think we, as people, take the beauty of change into account.

I think we look at either the whole entire tree of change, or see nothing at all. The degrees of change in both of those trees above was fascinating to capture.

I have felt that way alot recently, as I see marked changes in some areas of my life, but struggle with realizing it fully for the stunning picture it is depicting. I focus too much on the overall that I miss the top or underneath having change, because I am focused on the larger picture. Minute changes and adaptations are just as significant.

and just as beautiful…

Fall is a time to remind us of the change we experience throughout our year. I firmly believe it’s God’s way of reminding us of the beauty in change, in some things dying off in order to bring about newness in our lives in another season. It marks a time for us to be grateful for change while remembering the beauty it’s brought us throughout the year.

While change may not be dominating your life, glimpses of it are still worthy of our awe. After all, we are thankful for the beauty it brings even in the trees.

Choosing Life

477833_4033098107556_136732115_oOn Friday evening, I watched as my oldest nephew questioned what happened in Connecticut. You see, he didn’t know anything about it until we were at the Hits Deep Tour concert at Bridgestone Arena. Several of the musicians brought up the tragedy and lead the arena in prayer. Unfortunately my sister had to explain to him between acts what had transpired while he was in his own elementary school that day. I watched as a little more of his innocence was taken by the knowledge that this world is not our home and he is not secure in his own school. Minutes later though I was able to see him dancing and singing praises to Me Without You and I almost cried. I saw him enjoy his first concert, one that brought glory to God with thousands of other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Sunday at Cross Point Church, Pete Wilson said the very thing I had been trying to grasp at all weekend…

You don’t get to choose how you die, but you do get the choice in how you live.

 

My question for you today: How are you choosing to live today? You were given new mercies. You were given life. You were given passion, joy, hurt, pain, and most of all, you were given a choice. Choose today to live.