Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Note to Somebody

Dear “Friend,”

You recently sent a message and here is the reply: I wonder if we were ever truly friends in the first place and so it might be best that you and I part ways. Entirely.

You’d like more explanation? I will try.

You and I must have very different ideas about what it means to be a friend or to call someone “friend.”

It’s not so much that we’ve had good times and we’ve had tough times. It’s that you and I both handle such times differently in a way that doesn’t seem to keep you and me together. I don’t mean “together” like always together; I have some great friends that are elsewhere and we barely keep it touch yet we are still friends. I have some good friends whom I’ve never seen more than once a week at the most and yet we are still friends.

Plus, you and I have huge communication problems. Normally, I would not have posted this in such a semi-public place yet I’ve tried other ways. I don’t know what to do. And maybe someone else stumbling on this might learn something. I don’t know. I don’t seem to be able to get your attention adequately when we “talk” in-person. I don’t know that I want to be in-person with you.

Would you like me to point to something more specific? Something which might give you a better idea of a possible direction?

I could choose from a list of things from the past but let me start with your message. This is how I read it…

You said, “I know our relationship is strained.” Okay, you know. So what? You haven’t done anything about it so I don’t believe that you care. That’s fine. I know you have more important relationships to take care of. I can’t make anyone care about me. When you and I have been strained in the past, I didn’t know what to do but I made efforts. If this should occur between you and someone else and you don’t know what to do or what you’re doing isn’t working, get a clue. Ask someone. Best advice I can give, ask the very person with whom you are strained. Do something.

You said “I don’t want [our strained relationship] to come between you and [our friend].” Well, I’m sorry but it does. I’ve been trying not to let it either but relationships are messy. How would you like it if someone who hurt you started to date your best friend? And the thing is that I knew you could make a compatible couple a long time ago; if you had gotten together back then, things might have been better. Well, maybe and maybe not. Who knows? Add to that the way you handled it made me think that you don’t trust me and I guess you don’t. There are a lot of things I stopped trusting you with over time so I suppose we’re even.

And as nice as it was for you to pray for my leg, I have been to church once this year. Yes, that has to do with myself, but also if you were such a concerned friend, you should be praying for my spiritual healing. I could go to hell with a broken leg just as easily as I could go to heaven.

The other time when you said you were praying for my dad, my dad wasn’t concerning me as much as other things and so it’s nice that you prayed for him but it showed that you did not know for what I would’ve wanted prayed.

If you knew me as someone who used to be fervently seeking God’s will and striving to become ever more obedient to his will, it should make you sad/ concerned/ bewildered/ [something] that I no longer seem to be doing so.

You think that being polite and “respectful” is more important than the spiritual welfare of your friend? So you don’t say anything or do anything when that person doesn’t seem to want to talk about it? Well, your friend could drown spiritually.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 “[9] Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. [10]For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.”

It doesn’t really matter who you think is there for your friend. Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t. Maybe they’re helpful and maybe they’re not. If YOU care for someone, YOU show it. For all the negative things between your friends and I, for all the times I’ve said how on my own I feel or how far my friends are and the like, and that one time when you asked me if I had someone, a friend, and I had shrugged in answer because I had no answer…

With all the other times I felt like I was talking to no one while you sat next to me…

Love takes offense. Caring takes offense. True friendships take offense. Jesus was/is offensive to people. I’m not saying go around being intentionally offensive all the time. I’m not saying be a reputable jerk. I am advising to learn not to use offensiveness so sparingly. And learn to use offense wisely- something I am trying to learn.

I am certain that you are going to take offense to this note. Well, so what? Will it matter? I’ve tried in so many ways to tell you and show you that you mattered to me. If you didn’t understand that, if you didn’t receive it as that, well….

I admit, sometimes I’ve confused you in that caring. I was confused at times also so that tends to make me confusing. I am sorry and there’s nothing I can do to erase that. I don’t know if there is something to do to make up for the confusion I caused. Maybe it doesn’t matter anymore as you seem to have had a certain question answered for you. I still apologize because I should have known better than to be confused.

It’s not for lack of trying to receive your care. Years ago I’ve learned that I ought to look for signs of care in ways unconventional to my own or I might miss it entirely. And sometimes I ought to demonstrate my care for someone in the way in which they might best receive it, not in the way that I am best at giving it.

You have tried. I have tried. At this point, I don’t believe that you care. At this point, I’m tired of making a move. At this point, you might think that I don’t care.

And the saddest thing about all of this, I believe, is that a mutual love of God and his son Jesus alone should have been able to… I don’t exactly know what… help us sustain a friendship? If that mutual love had been true in you and I. You and/ or I got in the way.

And I’m not saying that it would be your fault if your friend drowned, but how much better would it be to be there for your friend either way, whether they do drown or not? There are too many things that none of us can control.

What this all comes down to at this point is… there is a quote that comes to my mind. I’m not sure who originated and I can’t find the source where I first came across it, but it goes, “Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

You’ve said a lot of nice sounding things over the years that I don’t believe because of lack of action in this case. “We’re still friends…” “I’ll defer to your leadership…” “I apologize for gossiping about you…” I’m telling you directly now that your actions, from my point of view, have said otherwise.

A lot of these kinds of “lessons” are ones that I’ve picked up from others. I’m not saying anything that I haven’t learned myself or that I try to keep in my own mind. I’m not telling you anything that I am not echoing back to myself. I don’t think I am very wise.

You once asked me, “Where do we go from here?” My answer this time is, “Wherever you want to go, go.”