Thursday, October 05, 2006

Some thoughts I've been having

Have you ever wondered whether or not you have been forgiven (by a person, not God) for something--a huge mistake you have made?

I have been thinking about that for a few months now. I had a falling out with a friend several years ago. It was over about some pretty serious stuff. My friend knew that my boyfriend had cheated on me and didn't tell me about it. We got in a huge fight about my response to his cheating. I was taking a few weeks to figure out if I wanted to stay with my boyfriend and didn't do much talking to her. As the fight escalated she accused me of being a part-time friend. It came out during the argument that she was really hurting because I was not there for her during a very hard time in her life a few months before. I think that is where the part-time friend accusation came from. She had decided to terminate a pregnancy and I went out of town with another friend the same weekend. I came back the day or the day after it happened and went to see her. I had no idea that going away and not being there with her had hurt her so badly. She never said anything about it until the day of the big fight.

Looking back on it now, I so wish that I had gone with her. It is hard to admit that I played a part in influencing her decision to terminate the pregnancy. I have beat myself up about that for years now. What kind of a friend was I to not be with my best friend (for years we had been friends) during probably the most difficult decision she ever made?

Hurt upon hurt was spoken between us the day of the fight. I can still remember it so clearly--where I was sitting in my bedroom, yelling into the phone, crying loudly. I think the I think we both said and did some terrible things to each other. Our friendship had gone through some rocky times before but nothing like this. Our friendship pretty much ended after that fight.

I became a Christian about a year after that happened. Somehow knowing that God loved me despite my past sin and mistakes (and there was a lot!) gave me hope that I was not forever going to be labeled as a terrible friend. (I did learn something about friendship from that whole experience though.) I know that God has forgiven me for all of that but I still long to know that true reconciliation can happen between my friend and I. We have recently been in touch again-it has been over 10 years since "the incident" but we have not yet spoken about the past.

Moving back to Dallas has been difficult for me because it has brought many of the realities of my past in my face. It has been interesting to reflect on who I am as a new creation in Christ and yet being surrounded by all the memories of my past. I am such a different person than I was 10 years ago--since I have become a Christian. I feel as though my whole adult life is disconnected from my childhood and adolescence through high school. Even listening to certain music takes me back to my BC days and honestly, there are a lot of things I would rather forget. How do I reconcile these two areas of my life?

My friend and I have been talking via email for a couple of months--nothing very deep. She is a new mom and is staying at home with her baby. I have seen pictures of her baby and she is adorable. Even though I have a hard time connecting with the past I really want to reconnect with my friend. I would like to get together with her to see where things go. I have suggested getting together but it is hard to know what she is really thinking. I realize that she might be hesitant and feeling reserved about reconnecting with me. I understand that I hurt her in the past but I want for both of us to be free from our past and to move forward with our lives. Perhaps after spending time together we will be able to define what our friendship looks like. Maybe we will realize that we will only be friends who check in every now and then. Maybe after spending time together we will want to invest in a deeper friendship. I really don't know where it will go but I have been anxious about it for a few weeks. I feel like God is speaking to me about it and it has been nice to do some reflection about my past.

Going back to forgiveness.....Is it selfish of me to want to know where she stands or how she feels about my mistakes from our friendship? I am too scared to ask her. There isn't enough trust in the bank yet. I would rather do that in person anyway, and we haven't gotten together yet. What DOES she think about when she thinks about our chumming around days? What would she have done different, if anything? Are there things she would like to say to me now about our friendship or the past? I guess forgiveness won't feel complete to me until we revisit that painful issue again. I fear bringing it up and I can only imagine that it is painful for her to think about again. I don't want to remind her of that. I feel love for her --no bitterness or anger at all. Why is it so hard to just rest in the forgiveness of God? I don't need to pay penance for my past sin--it has been forgiven. But, I do want to be sensitive to my friend and her process too. Maybe the hesitation I feel from her about getting together is not there at all and I am just imagining it. My intuition tells me otherwise.

Forgiveness--or the lack of it-- is very powerful, isn't it?


nicapam said...

i can definitely relate to your comments about your life before and after Christ as being totally different's hard for me to even imagine what I would be like now without my relationship with God.

as for forgiveness, i think the thing for me has always been if i felt i had sinned against someone, i needed to confess, even if that was not guaranteed to make a difference to the other person. i think we are called as christians to be the one to take the first step toward reconciliation.

amelia said...

I agree that confession is the first step toward reconciliation. Shortly after I became a Christian I did write her a letter apologizing for my behavior but there was not much of a heart to heart about it. It feels appropriate that another conversation should be in the future at some point. I am praying for timing.

Melissa said...

Whatever you decide to do, and whether she knows it or not, your friend is benefiting from knowing the Amelia that you are now.

You made a huge difference in my life! :)

Continue to be her friend, even if it's on her terms. She can't help but see the Jesus in you.

thelins said...

hi amelia,

thanks for your entry. i really enjoyed reading it.

i know there's no simple answer to this, but i think you're doing great. simple and sincere contact with her now seems good, even with all that's on your mind. soon, as you continue to build trust with her, you may have the opportunity to share with her what you're thinking. or who knows, maybe it's one of those things where it's understood that things are okay now and it will be left behind.