Last week, Danielle over at Sometimes Sweet wrote a blog post called ‘What Are You Waiting For?‘ that really inspired me. She wrote about carrying around feelings (either good or bad) about your friends and family. She wrote some happy and sad stories that reminded her to tell her loved ones just how much they are loved because you never know when you’ll see them for the last time.
So I was inspired to write a similar post and write about the day I truly learned to forgive, because really, what WAS I waiting for? Just a heads up, this is going to be a really long post.
A couple years ago during the week of my birthday, a really good friend of mine -we had already been friends for 7 years and I considered her to be someone that would be in my life forever- wrote me an extensive e-mail telling me that she didn’t want to be friends anymore. She told me that she was moving on with her life and there were certain people she didn’t want in it anymore. She was holding a lot of grudges- she didn’t know how to let things go- and some of her closest friends were going to pay the price for it.
At the time, I wasn’t just hurt, I was incredibly upset. I didn’t understand why she wanted to take a good friendship and just throw it out because she felt like there were things that she couldn’t work out in her mind. But what could I do? I answered her e-mail and told her that she had hurt me too much and I never wanted to speak to her again. In my mind I thought that if someone wanted to harbor such negative feelings towards me, I didn’t want anything to do with them.
I was angry for a very long time. I was re-thinking so many of my friendships, so many of the decisions I had made up to that point, wondering where I had gone wrong and what I could do to make sure that didn’t happen again. Was I a bad friend? Was I really guilty of the things she accused me of?
Fast forward to last summer, early July. I was at a family dinner at my brother’s house and I happened to come across a lot of my high school friends’ statuses on Facebook about a girl called Jessica passing away. I immediately messaged a good friend of mine and asked her which Jess it was- if all my friends knew her, then surely I did too? She answered me quickly, apologizing to me for finding out the way I was about to, but that girl who had passed away was a really good friend of mine (of ours) throughout almost all of high school. She was one of my first friends when I got there, and for a couple years we had been inseparable.
I was absolutely devastated and almost completely inconsolable. My mom could barely get the words out of my mouth to figure out what was wrong with me, but I couldn’t help myself. All I kept thinking was that I hadn’t even spoken to her since graduation. I knew she had gotten very sick, but I never tried to contact her, we had lost touch in our senior year anyway. All of a sudden, this girl that I had grown up with during my teenage years, was gone forever. My first two thoughts when I found out were the following: 1) I never got to tell her how much fun I had with her, how much I had appreciated her friendship, and how much I had needed her in high school to get through those tough teen moments. 2) I thought of my friend who had said goodbye forever, and how I had angrily shut her out of my life for good in return. What if something happened to her tomorrow? I didn’t want my last words to her to be that e-mail telling her that I would never forgive her.
I was very sad about losing two good friends, and I think I mourned both that day. But I didn’t want this moment- this lesson- to come and go without recognizing it. These girls are not the only two people I’ve said goodbye to, but I would make sure that the people in my life who were still present, knew exactly how I felt about them.
I knew what I had to do to start making things right again. I sucked up my pride and I sent my long lost friend an e-mail. I told her that I wasn’t expecting an answer, but I wanted to tell her about our good friend passing away, because the three of us had been very close. I also apologized for the things I said two years earlier, and I told her that I didn’t want those to be the last words we said to each other even if we might never truly be friends again. I wanted her to know that even though we ended things, the 7 years that we were close meant a lot to me and even though it wasn’t enough for us to stay friends, they had still been an important time in my life that needed some recognition.
She sent me two replies, a few months apart, explaining that she was sorry too and that she had finally let go of those grudges she’d been holding on to. We never became friends again (not really, anyway) but whenever I hear good news about her or something worth bringing up, I send her an e-mail and tell her I’m thinking about her and that I’m happy she’s happy. Because there’s no point in waiting for a better moment to share how you feel with someone.
I haven’t been able to apply this in EVERY part of my life yet, but I’m working on it. My friendships and my losses have taught me that forgiveness is one of the most important things in the world. I have never looked back from that day or wavered from that lesson. I am a more honest and truthful person today because of the people who I’ve been forced to say goodbye to forever. I don’t want a single other person that I love to leave this earth without them knowing how I feel about them.
Writing this post has reminded me about this, more than ever. When someone tells me that they have shut someone out of their lives, I try and make them see the other side of the story. I try and explain to them that there are other ways of dealing with those hurt feelings: talk about them. But more importantly, tell your parents how much they mean to you. Reach out to the people around you that have shaped the person you are today, and tell them the impact they’ve had on your life.
What are you waiting for? This could be your last chance.