Lately I have been thinking a lot about old friends. I am truly blessed to have had many friends throughout all my different experiences and stages in life like; first friends in grade school (3rd grade, Jami!), best friends in high school, college roommates, summer work friends (Andranel in Glacier!!), coworkers that turned into friendships that helped me find my way when I was a bit lost (Hattie :-) ) and now friends that are like sisters and who's kids are my kids' friends. (this list is by no means all inclusive!!)
I have had so many friends that its hard to keep up with all of them and so I always really enjoy it when one of them "finds" me and we're in contact again. That is probably part of the reason I enjoy Facebook so much, because I really truly have been able to find old friends & acquaintances that I probably wouldn't have been able to find without it. Recently an old friend from high school, Lucas, found me on there. I was pretty encouraged since it had probably been ten years since I'd talked to him and it was great to see that he has a family now. Although I wasn't friends with him for a ton of time, its one of those friendships that I had during my rockiest years and he was, and I think he probably still is, one of those friends who will tell you what you need to hear as opposed to what you want to hear. But having heard from him has brought into my thoughts the other friends from back then...
It was in high school, junior year & senior years, that I had my first real best friends. Not that the friends I'd had up until that point I never considered best, but these girls I connected with on every area, including spiritual. We felt like a team, I felt like they would come to my help with anything, whether in a physical sense or spiritual. We spent so much time together, knew each other so well and had a ton of fun. We also went through one of the toughest things I've ever had to deal with in my life.
There was four of us, J, R, S and myself. J was a junior and the rest of us were seniors and we were having a great year and trying not to think about the fact that most of us would be somewhere else in a year. But then suddenly it seemed like S wasn't herself. She was missing a ton of school and seemed always sick and never wanted to do anything fun with us. It finally came out that she said she was depressed and taking meds for it. The rest of us were stunned, but also determined to help her. We surrounded her that night with prayer and were hopeful that God would resolve her pain, but she only got worse. Soon she wouldn't even leave her bed, she wouldn't take care of herself or even talk. It was sad. Not too long after that we discovered the reason for her deep depression: she had been raped. It was heartbreaking and honestly, it was more than I could handle at the time. I think I was just too young and naive to have any clue what to do, so I pulled back a bit. A lot of what happened after that revelation blurs in my memory, but I do know that she got some kind of help and got well enough to finish school and graduate with us. I remember being so proud and happy that she'd pulled through enough to be there in her cap and gown with us.
Fast forward a couple years and I am in my junior year of college, going to school in Idaho and the other three girls were still in Montana. The time and distance had taken their toll and we weren't as close as we had been but it seemed that we were all struggling to keep in contact with each other. I was having a bit of a rough year to begin with and was feeling kind of like they had "let go" of me... I would email or write and not get the response I was looking for. I remember one day being so mad at R that I send her a really rude email telling her how I felt. When I saw her response sitting in my inbox I almost deleted it. But I didn't. I opened it and the words broke my heart. S had killed herself.
I rode a bus home for the funeral, which happened to be the same weekend as Thanksgiving. I was so angry at God for letting her go through the pain I was sure she felt for all those years. I was angry at myself for not seeing her pain and I was angry at myself for being so self-focused with my friends. We tried to band together and sort through the pain, but I think none of us really knew what to do with it.
I went back to school and dealt with my pain & sadness by turning my back on God and on all the values I had grown up holding dear. I thought that He "deserved" it after letting her go through what she had to have gone through to choose death over life. I didn't realize it back then but I was hurting myself just as much as I was hurting God and it didn't help me deal with the pain. I kind of tried to stay in touch with my friends from home, but I think I allowed the distance really get in the way because it was easier. Once I graduated and moved back to Montana I started going to church again and things finally "clicked" for me. I realized just how much God really loved me and how big of a sacrifice he made for me. I did a lot of studying and "soul-searching" and although I don't know why things happened the way they did, I have faith and trust that God loved S very much and that somehow he'll use what happened to her for the good. I have a human mind and I can only see so far, but I know God has the big picture.
I look back and I wish I would've treated my friends differently. We live within hours of each other now and I see their parents around town once in a while, but I'm not in consistent contact with them. I send a Christmas card every year and sometimes I get a response back from one or the other, but it's not like it was. Sometimes I wonder if it is because of how I treated them at times. Or maybe its just because we are in different spots in life and it just doesn't "work" now. Or maybe its because remembering the good times together is brings memories of the difficult times. Whatever the reason for the lack of our connectedness, it makes me sad and just a little bit angry at times. Sad that after all we've been though that we'd let a little distance get in between us and angry that maybe Satan not only ruined a life by his cruel finagling but also 3 wonderful friendships.
Anyway, just things that I've been thinking about lately...sometimes it blows me away how things in life turn out, you know what I mean? Well, it's spring break this week which means Lindsay is home all week making it quite dynamic. I just now broke up a little tiff in which Lindsay took some toy from Kera and Kera in turn whacked Lindsay on the head with her Tinkerbell wand...I could hear the hit all the way in the kitchen (they were in my room) and it broke upon impact. I hope it isn't a sign of how the day will continue! Since its spring break I decided to do some spring cleaning, so off to clean out the closets and maybe get the cobwebs growing on the tops of my kitchen cupboards!