Friendship is Seasonal: Be Grateful

“The most beautiful discovery friends make is that they can grow separately, without growing apart”

Friendship takes on many forms to different people at different times. It can be a blessing, a burden, a learning experience, an opportunity to pour out and to be filled. Sometimes it comes from people you would least expect and sometimes, those you hope will never leave, end up being the ones that walk away.

It’s a blessing. All of it.

Sometimes in the moment it’s hard to embrace the pain of a friendship that has come to the end of its season. But with some perspective and personal growth on our side, hopefully hindsight allows us to be grateful for all of the seasons friendship journeys through.

It’s the high school best friend you part ways with and reconnect with 30 years later.

It’s the military wives who used to be in your home daily; whose homes are now across oceans on different bases.

It’s the friend who wasn’t a likely candidate, but became a sister through a season of trials. The one whose child is autistic; so she pushed into your life to let you know there are people who can help you process your own child’s recent diagnosis.

It’s the woman you have known for years but she was never in your inner-circle. All the sudden you build a bond 10,000 strong as you help each other learn who you are as a single women, after a brutal divorce that rocked your identity.

It’s your gym buddy who is always down for a late night workout as you help each other grow and evolve physically. Different friend groups, different jobs, different churches and seasons of life. But both, a passion for health.

It’s the friend who is a little bit further ahead in the game than you. The one who can carry more of the load of your burdens than most. The friend you always find yourself calling when you’re in a crisis. Not because her friendship isn’t important to you on a regular basis – but because you have little in common in your current daily routines. You have mutual respect though and a dynamic where you trust her opinion and she is happy to give it.

It’s the wife of your husbands co-worker. The one you initially judged and thought was snobby. The one that over the years you’ve become deeply connected to. The one who gets you through all of the benefit dinners and charities with nothing shy of 2 laugh-until-you-cry outbursts.

It’s the friend we’ve broken up with. In the moment, we were righteously offended – or so we thought. “If that’s the type of friend she is, I don’t need her in my life anyways!” we reason. But after some years have passed and maturity has taken root, we look back and wish we hadn’t been so harsh. The friend that you realize you didn’t need to end things with… that had you not been so wounded, you would’ve had more grace for.

It’s the friend who doesn’t have much depth to her. You don’t call her when you’re troubled and need to vent. But she is always the life of the party. She will be at all of your get togethers – front and center –  right where she should be. She cracks jokes and effortlessly puts people at ease, just by being her. Whenever she’s around, you feel more free. Even with all your burdens, they seem to melt away and it feels like everything will be okay. Her laughter is contagious and there is no way for you to not enjoy your time when she’s around.

It’s the friend who you love dearly and always will. But you have a family of your own and she is still single. You want to see her and talk to her more. But your lifestyles are so different now, it’s just not practical. Because while she’s deciding on which car to buy, you’re deciding which method to use for potty-training. While she’s choosing between Cabo or Hawaii for her next vacation, you’re saving to pay for your daughter’s club volleyball season. You’ll always love her. She will always be a close friend. But right now, life is just pulling you in opposite directions.

It’s the friend who is offended by something you did. The one who used to be like a sister. She disagrees with what said or how you handled a situation. It catches you off guard and you know her anger isn’t justified. You gracefully let her go for a season, knowing what she wanted from you wasn’t reasonable. When life has softened her heart and taken away some of the judgment, she comes back and you pick up exactly where you left off.

It’s the group of friends you’ve become close with because your children are all attending the same school. They used to always be there for you, but now that your child changed schools or runs with a different crowd, you no longer hear from them or get the invites. It hurts, but you know it’s not a reflection of their feelings towards you. It’s just because they are focused on what’s going on in front of them and their capacity can only reach so far.

Sometimes it’s the friend you keep reaching out to for advice or with a need, hoping she can help you through the situation. She doesn’t respond or support you how you had hoped. Maybe it’s not because she doesn’t care or can’t be there when it counts. But maybe she too is walking through her own crisis and doesn’t have the ability to carry anything else. She still loves you and wants to see you thriving. But in this season, she’s loving you from a distance, while she’s picking up her own broken pieces.

It’s the friend you bump into at the store who says “Let’s grab coffee and catch up soon!” You think she is incredible and you would love to get together. But you’re at max capacity with what’s going on right in front of you. You want to make room for her in your life. But to reach that far with all that you’re currently holding, would hyper-extend your arm. When seasons shift and life settles down some, she is someone you would love to spend more time with.

Sometimes it’s the deep friendship that ends with pain and betrayal. The issue never gets resolved and the friendship doesn’t mend with time. The friendship served its purpose for a season. But ultimately, you had to appreciate it for what it was, learn from it and move on.

Friendship takes on many forms.

It can be messy, painful, confusing, beautiful, uplifting or something entirely different. Maybe the same friendship takes on an element of all of those at different times.

Even if paths part ways, the best friendships always circle back around eventually and have a way of evolving to new depths over decades.

Regardless of which friend, friendship is seasonal.

Be grateful.

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