Something extraordinary (but difficult) happened today, and I find myself needing to post to Daily Hopeful earlier than is my custom. Thanks in advance for bearing with me here. I don’t usually post about my life here (I did more of that on Daily Thankful, my now-retired first blog), but find it helpful to do so now.
Sometimes (often?) we do not know when the hard things of life will arise. Today was such a day. Just as we cannot always anticipate when friends will enter our lives, we also cannot foretell when they will – unexpectedly, and somewhat bewilderingly – depart.
I’ve learned that we can only control our own behavior, and can at most prayerfully regulate our emotional responses to other people. So, when I see red flags indicating that someone is dealing with a vast reservoir of unresolved anger and has chosen to not deal with it responsibly, then the wisest thing I can do is remove myself from the situation.
And that’s exactly what I did.
Forgiveness is one thing, and grace is another, but when someone demonstrates a pattern of selfish disregard for the feelings of others and also fails to demonstrate a desire to reconcile or improve the situation, then I am inclined to walk away. So I did.
This person had her say, and her words were very hurtful. I forgive her, but I now know that there is no place for her in my life at this time.
So I will respect her boundaries. She made it clear that she is much more comfortable being alone, and so I will respect her decision. I told her this, too.
And do you know what the funny thing was? She seemed surprised. Her perspective on the situation was entirely different from mine. However, while I attempted to see things from her point of view, she did not reciprocate. There was no attempt at empathy, from my perspective.
In a way, I am relieved. As I’ve mentioned before, we all have seasons in our lives and in our relationships. This friendship has come to its natural end, even though the way it happened was incredibly jarring and abrupt.
Truly, the day was sad, hurtful, and needlessly stressful. However, for reasons that I do not understand at this point in time, God allowed it to happen. Indeed, for the past several years, He has been (rather painfully) removing the selfish people from my life, and I see that He has taken one more out of the mix.
I also sense a warning for me here, as well: “Tread carefully, Daily, lest you fall.” But for the grace of God, that could have been me! If I let my pain and suffering so distort my perspective on God and other people that all I see is darkness and pain, then I could end up like that, too. After all, I went through an incredibly difficult year-and-a-half, and have suffered much.
But I’m not like that. I made a different choice. Not because I’m some exceptional person, but rather because I recognize God’s tender grace and patience with me as He’s shown me (and healed) the destructive patterns in my own life. When you are painfully aware of your own shortcomings, you tend to have more tolerance toward others who are hurting.
But only up to a point. Tolerance is one thing, but unchecked anger is an entirely different matter.
Healing is a choice. Growth is a choice. And anger – holding onto it, kindling it, and not letting it go – is also a choice that each of us makes every day. That which you cling to the most also controls you – remember that.
So if you’ve made it this far, you may be wondering where the hope is in this situation. I was tearfully wondering the same thing not too long ago!
However, this is what I came up with: I still have hope because I know that tomorrow will be a better day. Just because one friendship comes to an end does not mean that I need to grieve its loss indefinitely. Instead, I can choose to accept what happened and learn whatever lessons I can extract from the situation. Then, I move on – after all, why linger? Acceptance is a vital link in the healing process.
By the way, her response to me was very telling, and confirmed that I made the right decision. I wish her well, but recognize that – for now, anyway – our paths have diverged in a significant way.
So I’ll conclude with these comforting words from the book of Psalms. I believe with all my heart that a “shout of joy” is well on its way – perhaps not right away, but soon: “In the morning” of my heart and mind, whenever that may be. ✝️