Sunday, September 7, 2008

Letting Go Of A Lifelong Friendship

The woman in the front of me taught me a valuable lesson about female friendship in the workplace. I befriended her when I started my first job out of high school at General American Life Insurance. She was married with children and I was single with no children. Turns out she was jealous of me and talked badly about me behind my back, but always wanted to be around me. She taught me not to be trusting of females in the work place. I thought once I left elementary, middle, and high school women got over their jealous spiteful ways. Unfortunately, if they are like that in elementary, middle, and high school they are like that the remainder of their life until they grow up and mature into REAL women. The woman behind me is S.C. the only woman outside my older sister; I let into my inner space and shared my fears, hurts, pain, disappointments, joy, dreams, and plans for my life. That is why this is the most painful post to date.

There comes a time in life when you know in your heart that it is time to let go of someone you believed for many years was a friend. I was hurt very deeply, this week by the words of a person I thought was my oldest and dearest friend/sister for over thirty years. I literally cried while I read what she said. I could have retaliated with some vicious words that would have broken her down like a two-dollar bill. Out of respect and love, I kept it short, sweet and simple.

I always consider my oldest sister my best friend. When we were younger, we had our sisterly fights, mostly because I did not want her to tell me what to do. Yet, I always wanted a best girlfriend that was my own age. I thought I had that in S.C., I noticed our friendship was changing when her son got in trouble with the law. She became very depressed and she did what most women do when their son get in trouble the first time with the law, she went out of her way to get him out of trouble by borrowing $10,000 for legal fees.

I met S.C. when my family moved from South St. Louis to North St. Louis in the 60’s. I never ran with many girls because I was a tomboy with girlish charm. I did not become friends with S.C. until we started high school; she got tired of running with the crowd she ran with in elementary and middle school. I on the other hand was not a follower, I was my own person because I learned early in life that females were jealous hearted and catty and I did not play those games. I was a straight shooter, what you see is what you get and I had no time for the bullshit.

S.C. was my matron of honor in my first wedding; my daughters grew up with her son. We did everything together. She never married or kept a man very long because she was picky and to this day she is still picky. If a man, tooth looks wrong or his shoes are not right she had a problem with him. I use to tell her she was too damn meticulous. I watch her run off some good men over the years. We shared the good and the bad in our lives, but I never in a million years would have thought she was resentful of me. The following of what she said is what hurt me the most:

Our communication since K.C. has been in prison has changed, I'll be the first to admit it. It's because your conversation has always been about how well your daughters are doing and don't get me wrong I'm very happy for them. I can't brag about my child and frankly I got tried of listening to it. I'm sure it bother me only because of the heartbreak K.C. has delivered to me, we all expect great things from our children and believe me it's no reflection on "T" or "N", I just wanted as much for K.C.. You made one statement and I quote "I raised them well, so if I die tomorrow I know I did a wonderful job"! Well, I believe (K. and I) did a damn good job as well, but our children chose their own path and it's not because we didn't raise them just as well. I do understand being a proud parent, and believe me I want to share in the same conversations, but I couldn't so I was always left speechless. What I'm doing is what's giving me the only excitement besides my grandson, and I shared these things with you because not only are you my friend, but you have daughters that will someday walk down that path of marriage.

This was my response to her hurtful words:

S.C. it is not worth it anymore, your response displays your resentment. I have been nothing but supportive and encouraging in everything you do and have thought to do. If you think my email was tacky than so be it. I am not going to argue with you. I have never said you or "K" were bad MOTHERS, I have always said that you two were DAMN good mothers. Most importantly, I have said the choices your son and K.'s sons made was not a reflection on how you two are as mothers.

I do not need the stress of trying to repair something that was obviously never real. I wish you nothing but the best S.C. Goodbye

It hurt to realize that S.C. was resentful of my daughters’ success over the years, and to take my comment, "I raised them well, so if I die tomorrow I know I did a wonderful job"! out of context and personally take it as an attack on her as a mother. All it meant was I can die happy knowing my daughters will be able to take care of themselves. I became sick when my daughters were very young. That was my worst fear dying while they were still minors. I made preparations in case that happened. For S.C. to take that and twist it the way she did was wrong. She was out of line to bring my younger sister in it and speak for her.

I gave her and her son unconditional love, support and encouragement. She obviously forgot it was the letter I wrote on behalf of her son when he got in trouble again was what reduced the time the judge planned on giving him. She called and personally told me what the judge said, “I had already filled the paper work out to give K.C. the maximum amount of time, until I read the character letter I received from Mrs. D. S. Because of what she said about K.C. and his mother I was moved to reduce his time to seven years.”

I concluded that S.C. is carrying a lot of baggage, jealousy and resentment. I cannot do anything about what is in her heart and soul, she has to fix that and come to terms with it. It saddens me deeply that I can no longer consider her a dear friend/sister. I do not believe in holding on to something when it has revealed itself a LIE. My mom and older sister hope we can work it out one day, but I told them, “Her words cut as if she stabbed me with a knife and she has issues that she has to work out. I do not need the stress of repairing something I did not break.

I am okay with my decision especially after listening to T.D. Jakes this morning talking about baggage. Moreover, Rev. M. Elaine Flake put the final validation on my decision to let go of my thirty-year friendship. When she preach the following:

Envy and Jealousy are Sins Roman’s 1:29 and Gal 5:21 tell us that envy and jealousy are vial sins. Envy is defined as painful and resentful awareness of the advantage or accomplishment enjoyed by another person. It is resenting another person for having something we don’t have but want and the key word here is resent. Envy is void of resentment it is when resentment or competiveness enters into the envy that it becomes unhealthy and unacceptable. Jealousy which is also connected to envy is defined as the intolerance of rivalry it becomes sinful.

It is okay to rival it is okay to compete, but jealous becomes sinful when it grown out of a fear that someone is going to become equal with us, or replace us, or might become superior to us. Rather it is jealousy or envy we must realize that both can be and are sinful and to give into those feelings is to challenge God and God’s sovereignty.

We who are believers cannot afford to become entangled with envy and jealousy when we honestly understand that God has a plan and God has a place for all of us. In addition, when we give into envy it really means we are not pleased what God is doing in another person’s life and feels that God is not fair and just.

God in God's sovereignty gives us all as human beings, give us all our talents, our gifts and our abilities, and we that know God knows that God will bless whom God will bless. God will use whom God will use. God will elevate whom God will elevate, and there comes a time in all of our lives that if we trust God. We just have to decide that God has a bigger plan and when we have questions when we are questioning God we need to turn to Isaiah 55:8-9

What I was thinking when I received those hurtful words from S.C. both T.D. Jakes and Rev. Elaine Flake preach it this morning. I am at peace with my decision and I honestly pray S.C. renew her spirit before it is too late.


Denver Refashionista said...

I'm really sorry about the loss of your friend. Sometimes we turn on those closest to us because something awful is eating us up inside. I hope your old friend finds peace and sees how she hurt you.

Diane J Standiford said...

I won't say I know how you feel EXACTLY, but I too had to say a final good bye to a friend (I thought) from 1st grade until a few years ago. I tried years of emailing to find the truth and friend I had, but she was gone and did not care about me. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. But I am stronger for it. It was her choice. The hard part now is forgetting her and the love I had for her. We must do these things sometimes. Life is too short to waste love/friendship on someone who can not return it and instead stabs.

Don said...

I know exactly what you speak, it's something that I too have experienced within my 35 years of life. I've lost lifelong friends after many, many attempts to 'get past an negative experience,' due to the strength and number of years involved, but I couldn't. In the end, I realized all I did was allow one person to completely disrespect my honor and dignity.

So, yes, I understand this being a painful post for you. I've been there, and I love the way you broke down the history.

Enjoyed the read.

~ Charlene S Noto said...

((Hugs)) Been there too. Sometimes it's hard for me to let go, particularly of people I have cared for deeply. I cling to the way I think it should be, instead of the way it is, always holding on for that idealistic vision.

Anonymous said...

Hi D:

It is terribly disappointing to find out that a friend is not a friend anymore. But your tremendous faith has lead you to a calm place and for that I am thankful.

As I read your post, toward the end, I could see how you were content with your decision to let the friendship go.

And you are truly one of God's children in that you still have kind words for SC to renew her spirit and pray for her.

Not too many people can say the same. Bravo


Becky said...

I felt a lot of hurt in your friend's letter, not because of you but because of what she is going through with her son. As parents we can't help but feel responsible for the outcome of their lives, even though that is often not the case.
I feel your hurt also. I don't think it's worth giving up a long friendship over this. Surely you both have experienced much worse situations than this.
I think you two should hug and kiss and make-up. The true test of friendship is being able to endure the bad times. Friendships are always easy to maintain during the good times.
Good luck and God Bless to both of you.