June 1, 2021

friendship, friends
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Photo: Katie Treadway 

It's hard to admit, but twenty years ago one of my friends broke my heart.  

Ellie used to invite my family to her home to celebrate Passover.  She and her husband were fun to be around and they were generous, gracious hosts.  Besides celebrating the Jewish holiday, we'd go out to dinner, to the theatre and to art shows.  At the time, I thought Ellie was my friend.  It didn't turn out that way.  

The first sign that something was not quite right cropped up when we invited Ellie and her family over for dinner.  They arrived over an hour late.  Though they apologized, my carefully planned meal turned out dry and disappointing.  Shortly after that, she called to say, "I'm a bad friend, aren't I?"

As I look back, it was her way of telling me our friendship had ended and I didn't pick up on the clue.  From then on, Ellie stopped inviting us over for Passover and out for social events.  She never returned my calls, even at a time when I had a health scare.  What made it hard was, she never felt inclined to give me an explanation.

I was crushed.  The situation weighed on me heavily.  I couldn't shake the rejection. I adored Ellie and missed her.  Then as the years flew by, it finally dawned on me that this relationship was meant to be short-lived.  It had never been destined to become what I had hoped it would be—a lasting friendship.  So, it was time to let it go of the negative feelings that were weighing me down.  But how does one let go of someone?

I suppose we all have ways of freeing pain.  For me, it happened unexpectedly on a beautiful sunny spring day.  I stepped outside and for whatever reason, I thought about Ellie.  Even though we hadn't seen each other in years, I was still troubled and hurt.  But that day, I was inspired to change the way I felt about her.  The first thing I did was to forgive her.  Then, I imagined carrying our sad little relationship in the palms of my hands.  I raised my arms to the sky and let the wind carry the pain away.  Suddenly, I felt lighter.  At peace.

Of course, I'd like to understand why Ellie cut me out of her life, but that will never happen.  We are part of the past, and not to be part of the present or future.  

It's sad to conclude that Ellie and I never shared a true friendship.  For her, it was more of a convenient connection.  Be it as it may, the situation brought into focus the true relationships that I have with other friends.  

I have friends who would never break my heart.  We care about one another and share life's joys and troubles.  We speak honestly to each other.  We can rant and rave.  We are thoughtful...and just listen.  We are patient with each other.  Most importantly, we can count on each other.  These relationships are true and have lasted and will last for many years. 

And isn't that what real friendships are all about?  

À la prochaine!