This post is all about me, because I begin to wonder if I’m just a selfish “git”–to use a word I learned from Harry Potter. Anyway, let me get to it. Thursday I had a long conversation with someone I used to call my best friend. For quite a while I have been questioning her stake in the friendship, and quite honestly, I’m wondering what my stake is anymore. Bluntly, she isn’t offering me much, and I guess I’m at this point in my life where I figure it would be nice for someone to ask me with genuine interest how I’m doing or whether I have exciting news or if I need to get something troubling off my chest.
In accordance with my view of Christianity, I try not to think about me, myself, and what I’m getting out of my interactions with other people. Sometimes I get self-concerned, and I try to remember the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
But here’s the thing about a friendship: If I’m not thinking about me, and you’re also not thinking about me, are we friends or am I your therapist? I’m writing here rather than addressing the person directly because the statements I’m making could not possibly do any good if made to her:
The last time I gave you a gift, you didn’t send me a thank you note or even a text message.
In fact, we didn’t speak on the phone until three months later, and you still didn’t mention it.
I don’t send gifts to get the thanks, but was the fact that I went out of my way for you and your children that meaningless?
Or is it that you feel entitled to it?
You’re not the only one who’s ever “gone through serious stuff.”
Of course, you wouldn’t know if I were going through anything, seeing as how you never ask.
You didn’t wish me a happy birthday this year, and I don’t think you even know that I got into the university of my dreams on that day! You most certainly didn’t congratulate me.
It’s not that you have to, it’s just that a ton of people I wouldn’t have expected to know or care were celebrating with me.
When was the last time you asked about K.? Or my parents? Or my ankle? Or anything in my life?
You have a lot of drama in your life. It seemed to be waning as we got older, got married, and you had kids, but really I don’t think it has. I’ve been sympathetic, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s just you. Maybe it’s the people in your life, but you chose them to be in your life, right?
You gossip. Maybe you’re not as bad as you used to be, but you do gossip. For all I know, you gossip about me to your other friends, and they think I’m a source of drama in your life!
We don’t have much in common anymore, especially since you’ve left the Faith. I’m open-minded and able to have friends who don’t agree with me on everything–my own husband is a non-believer–but if we don’t have a common faith in a common God, I don’t know what else we have.
You never come visit me. Maybe you don’t have enough money to, which is probably what you’d say if I actually said this to you. But the thing is you’ve found time and money to visit other friends and family far from where you live. I’ve traveled quite a distance to see you–twice. That isn’t happening again because frankly–
Forgetting all the other things I’m not even writing out to get off my chest, I don’t believe you value me or my friendship.
I don’t really believe in burning bridges, and I don’t want to hurt your feelings. I especially don’t want you to misconstrue me as a self-righteous, judgmental Christian who abandons her friend as punishment for leaving the Faith. I’m really over you at this moment, but what keeps me from giving you a piece of my mind is the same Christ you no longer believe in. Part of me wants to be mean to you, cut you off, and never worry about you or your kids again. But the grace of God, which I have received, believe it or not, makes it impossible for me to do that. Even if I overrode my conscience and told you to buzz off, then cut you off on the telephone and email and social media, not only would I feel guilt for having done it all that way, but I would not cease to care about you and the girls.
I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t think I’m being selfish though, really. I think you’re doing me no good, and if you really want my friendship, you don’t act like it. Why should I bother with you? I’m sure you can find someone else to talk to and never listen to, perhaps even someone with similar interests and life circumstances and things. I’ll try to give what I can though, as long as I can, in the spirit of St. Francis. I like that. But it won’t be the same as before. I’m not going to call anymore. I’m not going to pretend or hope we’re on a two-way street anymore, because I realize that we’re not. I hope things improve for you, and maybe I will even still be around if and when that happens. If I am, I’ll be glad, but I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to celebrate anything with you after all this.
I do try to keep it 100. May the Lord help you and me both.