Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Seasonal Nature of Friendships

For everything there is a season . . .
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT

Many times over the past few months I have grieved over the fact that my daughter feels like she has lost the friends she grew up with. They're not mean to her, but they seem to have "outgrown" her. In the meantime, she has developed some friendships with younger girls, and they have become very close. But she still feels the loss of those other friendships. She hurts, and she doesn't understand why they're not what she calls "true friends" anymore.

I could try to help her understand that in certain areas, her maturity is lagging behind that of her peers. In fact, I have tried, but she doesn't understand. Because she hurts, I hurt, and we have grieved together.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that many friendships are like this. Some last a lifetime, yes, but some are for a particular season of life. Then you grow apart, move on, and leave with fond memories. Often, nothing specific triggers the end of the friendship. It's just that whatever brought you together is over, and if that's all you had in common, then there's nothing to hold the friendship together.

It has happened to me many times through the years. I used to hurt for a long time, but now I realize that some relationships are like that, and that's okay. I still have my faithful few friends who have been with me through thick and thin for decades (or those who haven't been around for as long but I know will be), so having the friends who eventually move on is something I can deal with. I can enjoy the season that I have with them and the blessing of that relationship until it's over.

Rather than feeling like her peers are moving on without her, I need to understand (and help my little girl understand) that some friendships are like that. I need to help her nurture the one or two that can go on to become lifetime friendships and teach her to enjoy the moments she has with the ones who may not always be around. And we should invest in both because, really, how do we know at the beginning which is which?

Pray: Father, please help me to enjoy the friends you have placed into my life for whatever time they will be here. Help me to help my child realize that a season with some friends is longer than with others. Help us both to stay focused on you and to treat each person as we would want to be treated, seeing her through your eyes. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. This is very timely for me. What I would really love to read about is the seasonal nature of beloved helpers for my child. They come and go and while every single one of them brings so many new and wonderful things into Liam's and our family's lives, I find saying goodbye to them so incredibly difficult - even when we have new, amazing people to replace them. I have grown to love each of them. The new people serve Liam so well and often they offer things that the former person wasn't as skilled in (and that Liam wasn't needing at that point in his journey) yet I miss each of these special people in our lives. (Often I talk with them more than family and friends while they are in his life!)