Lent 2014-24: Letting Go Of What Was So I Can Celebrate What Is

To say that I have been blessed with the relationships I’ve had in my life would be a drastic understatement.  I have had the pleasure of having the most amazing family, some of the world’s best friends, fantastic teachers, and a plethora of significantly above average coworkers. I often marvel at how one person could find herself mixed in with so many stellar people.  However, even the best relationships don’t always last forever.  

A few years ago I found myself as part of a trio of friends.  Dave, Sarah, and I were inseparable (the names have been changed to prevent people from trying to poach my amazing friends).  Our names became interchangeable as people would use only one name to refer to us all.  For example, “Is Dave coming out tonight?”  actually meant, “Are Dave, Erin Elise, and Sarah coming out tonight?”  I look back now and I have no idea how we spent so much time together.  It honestly feels like we spent more hours together than there are hours in a day.  It was one of the most unique situations that I have ever found myself in.  

But, like everything else in life, we had a season and, one day, our season came to an end.  Sarah moved away and got married and had a new life that didn’t include Dave or I.  At first, she kept in touch.  She would call, send emails, mail care packages, but as the days went on the contact became less and less.  Dave and I tried to maintain our friendship but, whenever we were together, it always felt like something was missing.  We couldn’t find our stride because we spent so much time walking around the hole that was Sarah’s absence.   I became resentful of the fact that Sarah obviously kept in touch with Dave more than she did me.  She would invite Dave on vacations with her and her new husband and I would stew in anger because I never even received a call.  For his part, Dave would avoid bringing up Sarah’s name at all costs; this just caused even more of an issue because he would lie to me in some misguided effort to spare my feelings when I would ask if he had talked with her.  He wanted to protect me from the truth I already knew, Sarah hadn’t just moved, she had moved on from me.  I was a page in her story and my chapter was over.  I was heartbroken.  I was angry.  I felt like I wasn’t good enough.  And I didn’t understand why she picked him and not me.  I couldn’t handle being around Dave anymore, the resentment filled the hole where Sarah once stood and I knew that it wasn’t healthy.  So I ended my friendship with Dave.  

Many months passed of Dave and I not talking to each other.  We were cordial when we found ourselves in the same room, we would ask canned questions about each others families, but we never went too far below the surface.  We regained our status as individuals and no one expected me to show up at social engagements with Dave by my side.  I had moved on.  I stopped thinking about Sarah as I closed that room in my heart, she no longer belonged there.  

One day I needed a favor and Dave was the only person I could call. I knew that, even though we weren’t active friends, he still cared about me and would be there if I needed him, just as I would be there if he needed me.  He came over to my house and we spent a few hours together and then talked over some beers.  He casually brought up Sarah’s name and something strange happened, I didn’t cringe inside.  I found that I was completely unaffected by the fact that they were obviously still friends.  I had done it!!! I had successfully moved on and let go.  After that day I invited Dave out to dinner to thank him for his help.  We went out and had a nice meal and Sarah was no where to be found.  It was just the two of us, and it was lovely.  In the weeks that followed Dave and I spent more and more time together.  It wasn’t like our all consuming days of the past, it was moderate and balanced and healthy.  We found that we still had a place in each others lives.  

Tonight I realized that we achieved the impossible.  People spend so much time trying to fix bad relationships.  They just go at it and keep fighting thinking that that is the only way to make it work, when in reality, they are beating the relationship to death.  Dave and I were “walking the Green Mile” when I decided to walk away.  I could have kept at it, I could have fought, clawed and argued my way to the bitter end. I could have forced Dave into the new mold of whatever we were becoming, but I didn’t.  I said goodbye, I mourned what once was, and I let him go. I let us go.  When we eventually found our way back to each other, I knew that it would only work if we started from scratch.  We were no longer Dave, Erin Elise, and Sarah.  We were just Dave and Erin Elise.  And you know what?  We’re doing alright on our own.  

I still think about the old days from time to time and I am so thankful for the memories they gave me, but I know now that they are just that, memories.  Every now and then Sarah will cross my mind and I will reach out to her but only with the expectation of nothing in return.  Occasionally she will respond, more often than not she doesn’t, and that’s okay.  I know where we stand now and I know that, should Sarah ever want to be a part of my life again, she and I would have to start over from scratch because we can’t build a future on the past.  


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Aunt Beulah
    Mar 31, 2014 @ 16:25:31

    Such wisdom in this post. Thank you for writing it.


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