Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Reflections

It occurred to me the other day that my mom doesn't have any of the same friends that she had when she was my age. And I can remember these friends because I was 7 years old and knew these people. My dad doesn't even talk to or keep in even remote contact with the guy who was his best man when he and my mom got married. Again, I know this because we called the guy "Uncle Dave" and he was nice to us kids.

I wondered to myself what causes this kind of drifting in people. Is it different life priorities as you grow? Do people change and even though you may not notice yourself changing, other people notice? What about those people who stay around you as your priorities change and you change as a person - what makes them different than the people who end up drifting away, getting mad at you for reasons you don't even understand, or who you just stop talking to as a part of life getting you all caught up?

In the last ten years, I've seen a number of friendships in my life change and shift. Forget the last ten years - in the last YEAR I've gained and lost friends and not even known what happened to cause either one of those things. I know I'm not the only one who has had this happen in their lives, I can't be. I don't think it's some weird thing that God has planned that I'll be the only one who won't have the same friends for my entire life; that's a pretty common thing I'm assuming. Despite all those changes, I've had some consistencies - though I can't say that even the consistencies have been consistent. There are three or four people who come to mind in terms of a consistent presence in my life, but to some extent even those friendships have changed.

It's a blessing to have even one friend. I'm incredibly blessed as it is to have found Steve to share life with me and grow old with. I'm blessed to have one close confidante/girlfriend in my life, and further blessed for the times I've been able to say I have 2 or 3. I'm even further blessed to have as many other friendships as I have - many people don't even have one.

Considering how blessed I and most of my readers are in the way of friendships - when a friendship fades/weakens/disappears, why do sometimes we take it so badly and forget how blessed we still are if we are surrounded by other friends and loved ones? It would seem we should take more solace in the ones who are still close and be able to recover quicker when the realization hits that a friendship is fading or may even be over.

These are just some reflections I've had. As I get older and start thinking about life priorities, I begin to realize that the friendship drift "thing" is going to unfortunately become more commonplace - especially as we all grow older and into our lives, and have kids and they grow and we have to nurture them in their own lives and their friendships. This is what made me think of my parents' faded friendships; they came and went based on where we - the kids - were in our lives. My dad stopped hanging out with Dave as much when he moved in with my mom, me, and my brother and then they had my sister Dawn. Even though Dave was around for a couple of years, eventually Dad became so involved with us that Dave stopped coming around. The priority changed - now there were kids who needed attention and nurturing and unconditional love. Because Dave didn't share that priority (he was a single guy who lived in an apt. in Lynn), the friendship faded.

The changes in life and priorities can be different things. Maybe you're married and your spouse is your main priority. Maybe your job demands you be there certain hours that were previously used to nurture a friendship. Maybe one friend has a different idea on life than you do, and as a result your interests differ too much and you drift. Maybe you've given birth to a child or two and they in turn become your world. Maybe you've changed as a person in some way that doesn't jive with the friendship's dynamic anymore. There are a million other things I could list here - but they're all catalysts for the changes in friendships.

You hope that these things don't happen, but sometimes they do. It's a matter of being in a place in your life where you can accept that change and move forward. As long as you are able to face that need for acceptance and know that God has His reasons for the changes in your life - you'll always be OK in the end.

2 comments:

Kat said...

Fear not. You're not alone with those thoughts. I have had friendships change and shift but it is because we change and we have different priorities. You have friends in every stage of your life they may change and one or two will always be there, though they may currently not be so close, they will be the minute you meet them or talk to them on the phone, it will be as if you've never been separated.

I have often wondered about this as well but come to realize that it does belong to the cycle of life. Great post.

Anonymous said...

I think sometimes friends drift apart because life changes and people end up having different priorities in their world. I think it's determential to ones self to take it personally, as to wondering whya friendship has drifted I also think that an open dialog is the best way to figure that out. I don't know you (I'm a blogging surfer) but to me if you have a question to ask a friend then you should ask them if there's some reason they've drifted from you. It could all be beacuse of some misunderstanding that you could clear up over a quick email instead of brooding about it, or talkign about that person to others. Just some advice. Nice blog, love the layout!