To All the Girls I've Loved Before - Elisabeth Klein

When I was a little girl, I really struggled with finding even one friend who was true blue. For one thing, we moved a lot. I was also pigeon-toed which apparently made me a prime candidate for bullying.  And, and this one is just weird, I would get myself into situations where I’d befriend someone who either already had a best friend or who found someone better than me (this happened to me SIX FREAKING TIMES, totally not kidding).

But Jesus was so good to me, and brought me the sweetest friend when I was fifteen. I then fell in love with Jesus months after meeting Keely, and she and I and Jesus have been the dearest of friends ever since (yes, for 34 years at the time of this writing).

But then my twenties and thirties were hard again. Though I had Jesus and I had Kee, she and I lived far apart for about a decade. So I struck out to find another close, not to replace her, but more of a local pal.

Fast forward to today, and I can count on one hand some precious women who have known me and loved me for over a decade. I am a grateful, grateful girl.

But that is not what this post is about. It’s not about what I didn’t have. And it’s not about what I eventually found.

It’s about a character defect of mine that I cannot fully understand let alone explain.

You see, in those years of late teens and twenties and thirties and even forties…I met and befriended many kind women.

And in varying degrees, they’d share their hearts with me and I’d share my hearts with them. Some lasted a few months, some lasted years and years.

And then, for one reason or another, we stopped being friends.

Now, I wish I could say this only happened a few times and it’s been largely circumstantial.

But that is not the case. In fact, I hesitate to publish this post because it will make me come across pretty much as a horrible human being.

Because I counted. I counted the women from the ages of eighteen through forty-nine that I once considered to be a close friend – in my inner circle – who are no longer in that circle…and it was about twenty.

About twenty women who I allowed to slip out of my life.

And I don’t know why.

Sometimes a small fallout.
Sometimes they moved.
Sometimes there was a church change.
(I tended to be the pursuer in most of my relationships…many of my friends over the years told me this, I’m not just bragging, and) sometimes I just stopped the pursuing.

But sometimes, I just stopped being their friend. With zero responsibility on their part. And one thousand complete blame resting on me. And sometimes, with no legit reason.

I don’t know why the four gals that I do still have have stuck. (I just know that I’m grateful that they have.)

I could try to justify it all away with

I’m getting older and
I have less emotional bandwidth and
now that I’m remarried and have a gazillion adult children
or I’m a shy introvert or
I never want to leave my house or
I hate talking on the phone or
my work is so draining relationally that I just can’t pour out anymore or
some moved away and I suck at long-distance friendships or
a few of them hurt me or I didn’t feel safe with them anymore for whatever reason or
some friendships are seasonal  
or blah blah blah

And all of these are super true. And yet, truly, there is no justifying.

I have deeply hurt some precious women – for no good reason – and I carry much guilt and shame. And yet, I don’t have it in me to fix all twenty relationships from the past three decades. (Mainly because there are a handful of really difficult things in my life and I am emotionally and relationally exhausted what seems like most of the time now and have been for years.)

To some, I have tried to explain (though there really is no explanation that is suitable, other than I’m a horrible person).
To some, they perhaps never give me a second thought. (I hope this is the case, actually.)

For all, I have asked Jesus to forgive me and to fix whatever is wrong with me that allowed all that.

And to all, I am so grateful for each season of friendship. I am so grateful for what I learned from each one of you.

And I am so deeply sorry for hurting you, for stopping pursuing you, for letting you down, for maybe even breaking your hearts.

All I can do at this point is living amends, which is try to be a better friend to those in my life right now.  Come, Lord Jesus.

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