Throughout life friends come and go. Precious few are lifelong friends.
I lost a lot of friends earlier this year. Or perhaps I should say, I found out a lot of people I'd thought were friends, perhaps never considered themselves friends, earlier this year. It hurt because I valued these people and they chose to listen to opinions of others over finding out what was in my heart. That I was caught totally off guard with sudden vehement insistence I am a horrible person was brutal. That I still care about all these people and will most likely never again call them friend makes me sad.
Since this happened, I've heard from many people that they have had at least one experience like this in their lives and that, although painful at the time, it led to only good things and lasting friendships. Perhaps this is the way of things.
In many ways, these people leaving my life was a blessing. I value friendships - real friendships - those friendships where you can royally screw up and the friend will love you anyway. Friendships where you can be literally out of your mind and they'll understand your situation and offer help and hope, not condemnation. Friendships that may not always be easy and may have incredibly rough patches, but that know love and joy and pain and being let down and forgiveness and tears and laughter.
My best friend is my best friend because she is that person to me. She loves me no matter what, and I love her no matter what. I knew Renee was the truest of friends when she had me committed to a psychiatric hospital when we were in college. She loved me and new it was the best thing for me even when I didn't, and she didn't care if it meant losing me as a friend in the process - as long as it didn't mean losing me, period. Now that's a friend!
On my mind lately have been those people in my life who have had less contact with me in the past few months, but who haven't said to me one way or another whether or not they continue to consider me a friend. I don't know that they know how they feel. This in-limbo state of relationship is as much driving me crazy as it is breaking my heart. I don't deal well with gray areas. I don't know how to reach out. I'm not good at walking into this unfamiliar territory. All I can do is continue to love them and wait.
In this great friendshipwreck, many were lost; some are hanging on, as of yet uncertain of their fate; and a dear few have survived. For those who came through the tumult with me and still love me, I am truly thankful. For those still hanging in the balance - I'm here, I love you, I'm trying to be patient, and I'll understand whatever you decide. This is my love message in a bottle, set afloat, that I pray makes its way to your heart.
Perhaps that's all we can do when friendships are in the balance ... love, let go, and see where life brings us.