We were the band of four. Kari, Kathy, Anna, and me. One was a long-limbed swimmer with a cute button nose. One was a book worm intellectual who always greeted others with a huge smile. One loved to laugh and play video games until the wee hours of the morning.
We were a band, a quartet, a bond of girls who were just beginning to learn what it meant to be young women during the eighties, a time of fluorescent hypercolor shirts, scrunchies, and Balloons shoes. During those formative elementary school years, the four of us were inseparable–recess time found our gang huddled by the big tree near the cafeteria, pulling bark pieces from the massive trunk or hanging upside down by our knees on the monkey bars, hair falling like cascading waterfalls toward the playground’s red dirt.
We were a band. But then seventh grade happened, and I journeyed off to Aiea Intermediate while the other gals traversed to Highlands Intermediate. Initially we attempted meeting up on the weekend for Pearlridge outings or made plans to catch a movie once a month, but eventually, the phone calls between the other gals and me became fewer, the meet-ups less frequent. By the time we graduated high school we rarely spoke–this being before the internet was popular and social media enabled constant interaction between individuals clear across the globe–yet it was ok. There was an unspoken acknowledgment that we had grown apart, that the mere fact that we were not attending the same high school or constantly seeing one another in classes or on breaks was the root of why we were no longer a band.
It was ok. It IS ok, because that is life. There are seasons when we are close to certain individuals, invite them into our homes, break bread with them, and talk with them for hours, and then when that season passes, it is ok.
Right now, I’m going through a transitional time. The seasons are changing. My relationships are altered. I desperately long for the friendships I had in the past yet also know God has some great relationships with others waiting for me in the future. Last night at our small group Bible study, we talked about one such friendship I had that abruptly ended almost a year ago. A year ago. 365 days. I still don’t feel quite resolved in the issue despite all that time elapsing, and even though our disagreement occurred almost twelve months ago, my heart does ache for the days when that friend and I would plan ice cream dates or walk around Ala Moana window shopping.
Why??? Why do I still feel this sadness even though the other gal has evidentially moved on from the fractured relationship?
It’s not that I don’t have pals. I have many other friends: I have a best friend in the form of my husband, I have great love from my children, I hang out with co-workers, and I strike up a conversation with fellow gym goers. Why would this lost friendship mean so much to me? Last night, while talking with my fellow Bible study members, God showed me one part of the answer: I fear what she and others think about me. Because the ending of the friendship was less than ideal, I worry that she may have a negative thought on who I truly am. Whereas in other relationships that ended because simple geography led us to not be around one another (example: my band of elementary school friends), I am still confident in the fact that they don’t see me as “bad” or “mean” or any other negative adjectives. But when a relationship ends with a fight? Eek. My mind starts to go crazy imagining what she may see me as. A crazed lunatic?! A neurotic liar?! An irresponsible adult?!
I know that ultimately Jesus is the one relationship that I should prioritize, and that I really shouldn’t be worried about what other people think about me (These words of wisdom are from my husband, by the way. I don’t know how he does it, but he DOES NOT have that people-pleasing attitude in him). But I do worry. And what it boils down to is that I still have insecurities about myself. If I were truly confident in who I am in Christ, SHOULD those imagined words, those hypothetical ideas of what others think about me impact me so greatly?
With Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms incredibly popular, I was able to reconnect with my old band of elementary school gals. I “like” their posts of wonderfully pictured food, their pictures of the beach, and snapshots of their kids. We may not have the same closeness as we once did thirty years ago, but it’s ok. It IS ok. Jesus has been showing me that the time we spent playing soccer in my family’s living room and prank calling the neighbors during late night sleep-overs (I know!! Horrible!!!) are a part of my past, and that past is not meant to be recreated but instead should be honored for what it is, a part of ME.
I am on a journey, and in actuality, it’s not a journey to mend the old friendships so they can be how they once were. Sometimes, relationships were meant to help form a person, to inspire her, to lead that individual towards another road in life. On the flip side, sometimes, relationships are so fractured they can’t be put back the way they once were, and that is ok too. It is incredibly challenging to accept that fact, that what was in the past cannot be changed, but it is something that God wants me to realize. Why attempt to recreate what once was when there is so much more grandeur waiting ahead? I am on a journey, a journey of moving forward with the confidence that God has great relationships with others in store for me. The first step of this journey? To find fulfillment and joy in the band of people He has placed and will place around me. And you know what? So far, it is ok. It IS ok.