I remember right before I got married, my mother helped me to go through my room. I’m notorious for holding onto things for sentimental reasons. For example, I had a purple fuzzy teddy bear that I got from my fiancé, boyfriend at the time, one I held every night. It was my way of holding him until the wedding night. He and I would see each other a couple times a week, and spend time with his family, or my family. As the wedding drew closer, my mother saw me holding my teddy bear, wondering what pile to put it into, the ‘keep’ pile, or the ‘donate to goodwill’ pile. Holding it and smiling, I recalled the tender love of my soon to be husband. Mother smiled, as she knew what I was thinking, and asked me if I wanted to keep it. I smiled dreamily and told her yes. She asked me why, and I told her about how my fiancé gave it to me while I was recovering from surgery.
Listening contently, she reminded me that I healed from surgery a while ago, and then asked me if the teddy bear served its’ purpose. The question brought perspective, and made me realize that for the time being, the teddy bear did serve its purpose, and was ready to serve someone else in need. Without a word, I placed the beloved teddy bear into the ‘donate to goodwill’ pile and continued with my organizing.
Years later, three years into my marriage, I made a friend at Salvation Army, and I thought that the friendship was going to last forever. She and I gradually grew apart after I moved far across town. It left me in shambles, wondering what happened. On top of my seasonal depression, I grieved the broken friendship. Mother is my closest friend, so I confided in her, seeking another nugget of her life wisdom.
She empathized with me, and reminded me of her love for me, and told me she knew what that was like. She reminded me to focus on my life right now, what made it so special. My family, friends, husband, and cat all love me and are there for me. I’m working hard to help my store to get through the holidays, and I’m making connections with my coworkers. At home, I work on keeping the house nice, I care for the cat, and I’m working on some classes to become ordained. My life has a purpose, and I’m well-supported, and surrounded in love. Her suggestion, like her words of wisdom before I got married, brought perspective.
The friendship had a purpose and served it while I lived in another part of town. Whatever the purpose was, and I’m not able to put it into words yet, it was served, and I could let it go in love and forgiveness, just as I let go of the teddy bear. Grief and depression may hurt for a while, and it may happen in waves, but when it is matched with perspective, it births resilience.
I was able to let my friend go with love and forgiveness, and I will never forget what I learned through the friendship, but it is time to start anew. If she ever comes back into my life, I’ll greet her with open arms, but until then, I’m learning to ride the waves, grounded in my purpose in this time in my life.