HEALING FROM BROKEN FRIENDSHIPS
It was the first Sunday of August and I remember shoving a bunch of colorful bands into my bag. Back when I used to attend Sunday school, it was almost customary to exchange friendship bands every year in commemoration of what we knew as ‘friendship day’. A small act of love, a token of camaraderie and a lifetime of memories, all tied together in one small knot. We’d return home with our wrists brimming with assorted ribbons and our faces beaming with laughter.
The other day as I came across a media post stating Pope Francis’s intention for this month to be ‘social friendship’, it brought back fond memories of days that implied greater the number of bands and bigger the ‘BFF’ imprints equaled better friend. Over the years, my understanding of friendship has surely evolved. The bands may be pushed away into the loft but fragmented hurtful friendships have found themselves pushed away into my sub-conscious. No more is it as simple as a friendship band.
I vividly recall the summer of 2015 when I was faced with the reality of what it meant to lose my best friend. We were classmates in school and lived on the same street. What started as an innocent argument took an ugly turn through an exchange of heated texts and angry phone calls. Deep down I knew I had broken her trust. Our friendship of nine years had ended. The friend I shared my deepest secrets with, had suddenly become a complete stranger.
In the days to come, I tried to make amends, apologize for what I did and affirm our friendship. But the damage was done. She was now just another name on my contact list. She, whose memories are all I had to hold onto, disappeared from my life.
Movies often portray heartbreaks as one of the deepest pains of every teenager. But, no one ever prepared me for a ‘friendship breakup’.
I knew I had lost a part of my childhood. It was painful but the lessons were life changing. For one, I learnt that it takes years to nurture a friendship but only a minute to end it.
Since my conversion last year, I could feel God nudging me to look back at the wounds I kept hidden over the years and particularly the wound of this ‘breakup’. In obedience to that nudge, I texted my friend last year. We chatted formally, enquiring about our jobs and life in quarantine. Our interaction was brief but it left me with a huge sense of relief. While I do miss her and crave the conversations we had when we were younger, I am thankful for this ‘new’ open door. I am grateful that the healing has begun and I am learning yet again, the call to go beyond one’s self in love. In the beautiful words of our Holy Father, ‘building bridges’ of love and friendship with people whose views differ from us has never been more real.
Surrendering my wounds to Christ has brought me immense freedom. I can now boldly affirm that God does indeed seek to heal us from within.
There are wounds from ‘other’ friendships I have encountered and still fall prey to, but I’ve realized that it takes trust to run to the Father for my healing. There’s still pain in my heart as I pen these words down, but I’m learning that every small step matters. It matters for my healing. And in the process, the warm embrace of the Father continues to be poured out like balm on my aching heart. I am a work in progress in the Divine Healer’s hands, on my road to recovery.
The Faithful Friend
Putting Christ at the center of my friendships has made me realize the wonderful friend that Jesus is. In giving Jesus my bruised heart, He has revealed to me the scars He bore from broken friendships. He was also abandoned by those He lovingly called ‘friends’. He took that lonely journey to Calvary and laid down His life for them.
In His death and rising, Jesus redeemed friendship and continues to redefine it for our modern generation.
As I think about my inner circle today, I am able to see how God has nourished my life with authentic friendships that are unafraid to speak truth. They have accompanied me in my journey to holiness and encouraged me to keep pursuing God in all that I do. I still fall short as a friend but it is precisely in those moments when I turn to the Father who reminds me not just ‘Who I am’ but, ‘Whose I am’.
Friendship for me today, is no longer a means to decorate my Instagram feed with wonderful photographs. It is about cultivating wholesome relationships with people from different walks of life – people who hurt just like me, people who also need a listening ear and people whose painful experiences teach me invaluable life lessons.
Friend, have you been hurt and let down? Perhaps you are the one who’s hurt your friend and grieve that loss? Whether you are one that bears wounds from a broken friendship or one that carries the guilt of a relationship you cannot reconcile, I encourage you to pray for your ‘friend’. Let the Divine Healer heal both of you. Let Him remind you that you are not a slave to a painful memory gone past and that even your mistake can carry the potential to transform you unto glory!
You can trust Him, this Divine Healer who is also called ‘Friend’.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alinka Dias hails from Mumbai, India. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media and Journalism and loves pouring her heart out through poetry. She enjoys baking, especially if it means treating herself to a batch of chocolate brownies. Standing just under 5 feet and being the youngest of all her cousins, Alinka relates closely with the ‘Little Flower’ aka St Therese de Lisieux, who inspires her to pursue God in her own ‘little’ ways. Connect with her on Instagram @poetic.praise