Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Little Hollow in My Heart

I do not particularly enjoy feeling disappointed in myself. But that's kind of what I've got going on here right now.

It's funny how people waltz in and out of your life. There are very few that I've ever cut out completely or on purpose. I feel like relationships can be very fluid, times when they are intense, and times when they are more relaxed. I always assume that I'll eventually get back in touch with those I have not spoken with.

I don't mean for that to make it sound like I'm a lazy friend. There are the solid friendships I have, the ones I work on, people that I speak with regularly--or somewhat regularly. But there are others, that because of distance, changes in circumstance, or any other in a host of reasons, I just don't speak to. I think destiny plays a hand in this. I haven't spoken to my friend, Captain Dan in...gosh, over 4 years now. And I think that's the way it's supposed to be. There was no fight, nothing weird happened...we just lost touch. I have not reached out to him; nor has he to me. But if he popped back up into my life, I'd give him a hug and say "Good to see you." Then I'd probably smack him upside the head. He'd likely do the same for me. Such was our way.

Anyway, there was a friend of mine that was not invited to my wedding. I wrote this post on my wedding blog back in 2005:

Tuesday, September 20, 2005
She Deserves Better Than This

Okay folks, I'm going to be straight with you. My actual issue with weddings has less to do with the overall absurbity of wedding planning and more to do with a personal problem of mine. For years I have dreaded the thought of my own wedding. Honestly dreaded it. Made myself sick over it. Cried about it. I had a feeling that the day would inevitably come when there would be a ceremony, a reception, a big, white dress. And it the thought of it was devastating. Who knows for sure, but I might have been inclined to marry younger had it not been for one thing.

My Friend.

My Friend and I have been friends for years. To make a long, long, long story short, I had a falling out awhile back with my folks and My Friend was involved. Consequently, my folks won't stand for being in the same room as My Friend. I mean really, they won't. It might be ridiculous but that's the way it is. That's the way it's been for the last 12 years. And to give you perspective my relationship with my parentals isn't that great either, hovering on the point of estrangement at all times. We're civil, though.

I decided some time ago, that my wedding, should I ever get married would be a family event. I could use it to bring my folks back into the fold. I wanted that, I wanted to do right by them. It isn't a matter of who's right and who's wrong. It's a matter of family and I'm trying to bring mine back together a little bit. It's important to me.

Hence the issue with my wedding. No doubt My Friend should in my bridal party. I was just in hers. We've been friends for 15 years and have weathered a lot together. But there's the whole can't-be-in-the-same-room problem. So my choice that I had to make, no compromises, was between My Friend and my family. I chose my family. My Friend made it easy on me by understanding completely, telling me that for years she had assumed that she wouldn't be at my wedding. That's the kind of person she is, she makes things easier on those around her. It broke my heart, but her understanding allowed a tremendous weight to drop off my shoulders. I never wanted a large bridal party, just a few of my closest friends. All of whom I've been friends with since at least college, if not high school. All but one of them is a bridemaid.

So there you have it: one of my best friends isn't even invited to my wedding.

At her suggestion, I've spoken with her about wedding plans as though there was nothing weird about her not coming. I told her about the hunt for a dress. I told her about the on-going debate about where to have the reception. I sent her a picture of my dress after the World Tour was over. And maybe I did start to get a little excited about my wedding.

This weekend I learned, from her mother, that My Friend is actually completely devastated by not being involved, not even invited. She knows that she said it was okay. She understands it. She's just having a much harder time about it than she thought she would. And she's hiding that from me in the name of friendship. I'm sure me being involved in her wedding made it harder. I'm sure as I helped her arrange flowers, and tie ribbons, and apply makeup and fluff dresses, I'm sure she thought, "Wow, this isn't going to be reciprocal."

Now My Friend is honeymooning, but she'll be back and I'll know how upset she is. I can talk to her about it, but when push comes to shove, I can't change how things are, how things have to be. Each person has to make some hard decisions in life and this is one of them.

So now you know. I'm excited about my marriage. It's the wedding day that breaks my heart.

She and I stopped speaking in January 2006, two months before my wedding. In the flurry of last-minute planning I'm ashamed to admit that I barely even noticed. After my wedding, I assumed some time would go by, let the wounds heal and we'd eventually get back in touch.

I had recently learned some news about her and thought it was time to reach out to her. So I did, and she politely refused any offers of friendship, like one might decline having a cup a coffee after dinner. I knew immediately that what I had fooled myself into thinking was a break in our friendship, actually was the end of our friendship.

I should have expected this, of course, but still, it saddened me. I think mostly because I know I have hurt her, and I wish things could have played out differently. But even now, I know that as it related to my wedding, I would have made the same decisions all over again. But still.

If I'm really honest about it, the wedding was just the straw that broke the camel's back. There were other things. She and I had become two different people since high school, so different that if we met now for the first time, I'm not entirely sure we'd like each other. The interesting part is that she is largely responsible for who I am, for that different person I became. She and her family had afforded me the opportunity to become a stronger person, a better person. So somehow, I'm left with the vague feeling that I used her and then moved on...although you have to believe me that it wasn't like that at all at the time.

There are a couple of occasions that stand out in my mind in which I am truly ashamed of my performance as a friend. I think I am a good friend--I'm not looking for any reassurances here. But I don't coddle my friends, telling them what I think they need to hear if it isn't true. I try to be gentle with their hearts, but I also dole out a good dose of tough love when I think that's what they need. And all that is not what I'm talking about here. The instances where I think I've failed as a friend are larger than any bit of tough love.

So I'm lumping this situation with my old friend in with those other instances of failure. I'm going to stew in this for awhile, but I think I know that from this I'm learning to be a better friend. I'm a big advocate for accepting responsibility not only for the decisions you make in your life and their consequences, but also for the out-of-your-control situations life may throw your way. You take them in, even the hard and crappy ones, accept them and they can, if you let them, make you a better person.



At 9:27 AM, Blogger Christy said...

I'm really sorry to hear that this is how things are ending. It was a very difficult situation. You made the decision you needed to make and she can't help her feelings. It's a no win.

One of the things that occurred to me when I read this post though is that your wedding really did start to bring your family back together. Certainly, little Rolo has played a major role in some of the healing that has happened. And sure, everything probably isn't ever going to be all sunshine and roses. But it's better. And I know that means alot to you.

I wish you were not hurting though.

At 11:22 AM, Blogger Star said...

So sorry to hear this. It is heart breaking, and certainly must be hard for you. It does sound like you are confident that you made the right decision about the wedding, so I hope there is comfort in that for you.
You reached out. That is all you could have done.
Maybe with more time things will change, but if not, you have each obviously played an important role in one another's lives.


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