Nothing makes me reflect on my life more than a death. Second to that, which is similar to death, a dear friend departing my life for no apparent reason.
After a breakup with my last partner, I haven’t seen him or heard from him for 2-3 years. Yesterday, a childhood friend who lived on the same street as me growing up in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, posted a picture on Facebook of her and her husband having dinner with her 25-year old son, daughter-in-law (two people I used to sing with in a band), and my ex holding hands with one of my first good friends in Nashville. It was not just a small picture; it was a huge picture that filled a third of my screen.
Double-take. What? How can this be?
I spent half of the morning trying to figure out how that picture came to be and how someone from my childhood could be that close to my ex in a picture! Honestly, I took the picture to my mother and sister and showed them the photo. They, too, were astonished. “What?” we all clamored.
My friend from childhood finally responded to an urgent email. It turns out that her daughter-in-law met my ex briefly through me. But my childhood friend had no idea how my ex and her family all became such good friends. I supposed I may never know. I’m okay with that. I mean, what business is it of mine?
I haven’t even thought about my ex for a couple of years, after he told me in the shower on Valentine’s day that he didn’t know if I was the right person for him and was moving out the next day. After that incident, I thought, he didn’t deserve my time or any space in my mind.
That evening, as I was discussing the day’s events with my prayer partner, we talked about what metaphor this event might be showing me. We decided that this picture was just a circumstance, perhaps a test to get my attention off of what was important to my life. The only person who could breathe life into any circumstance for me is actually ME. So, if I let go of making something of the picture, the circumstance would have no life. Also, if I need to know more, I will certainly know more.
I think about friendships and how they come and go quite so often. I am intrigued by the intricate weave of love and dissent that happens in life that pulls us in and then literally removes us from each other’s lives. We only find out later that all happened for a divine reason. Who is the master of this Divine Puppet Act? Are we socially responsible for what happens in the ether that has every meeting of the minds perfectly defined so that all will make sense?
I know this with certainty: In my life I have seen many people come and go. One time I had a best friend not return my calls for a long time. His wife told me that he didn’t want to speak with me. He never responded to my letters I wrote (1990s). But, later, after my best friend divorced his wife and had raised four children, I discover from Facebook again (thank-you Facebook) out that my friend’s wife had devised the entire ordeal. She intercepted my phone calls and my mail. He thought I simply gave up on our friendship.
After 20 years we are back to being good friends again. I don’t know if anything will make up for those lost years, but embracing him again after so many years felt like a divine relief. Why did this happen? Why was I supposed to lose my best and dearest friend for so long?
These kinds of things have happened over and over again to me. Most times, now, I simply shrug my shoulders and think, I’ll know when I know. We simply have to let the universe rotate crops, as it were.
We only have room for so many people in our lives. Perhaps, we have much more to understand, learn and accomplish than we think. It takes a village, sometimes, to learn a lesson. I think, in my case with friendships, it has taken three villages, a small city, and 10,000 friendships.
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