I am in pain and distress; may Your salvation O God, protect me. -Psalm 69:29
I'd been feeling sorry for myself. It was two months after I'd moved from Hartford, Connecticut, where I had lived for twenty years and made close friends, to a smaller town on the shore. I move around Christmas, so I could understand when people failed to keep in touch. After all, it was the season: People couldn't keep up with their own schedules, never mind mine.
But now it was Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent, the darkest season of the year. I'd relied on my friends to get me through those short midwinter days. This year, no one was calling. And I was miserable.
I brooded, I cried, I shouted at the phone, I whined to my mother. But I didn't call the friends whose voices I so longed to hear. That just wasn't an option. After all, I'd supported them during their trials and tragedies. They had to know this move would be difficult. Where were they when I needed to talk, when I needed a little support?
I arrived home from church, marked with ashes, to a message from one of the offending friends on my answering machine. Mary had just returned from the hospital, where she'd waited alone while her husband was in surgery. Listening to her forlorn, aching voice, I knew that two months ago I would have waited with her at the hospital. I also knew that she still needed me.
Then I remembered something my mother had suggested - and I had immediately rejected - when I complained about my unfaithful friends. She said they were giving me room to make a new life before trying to fit themselves into it.
I picked up the phone.
It's funny how I can relate very much to this reflection. As a friend, I would always do things or support my friends on anything they do. When they need me, I make sure that I am there for them. I would always make and find time to make them feel that even in my busy schedule or any personal struggles I may have I am there for them.
But many times, I feel hurt and abandoned by my friends. I feel that I am not cared for or loved as much as I have loved and cared for them. Many times I feel they do not pay attention to me or that they would not go that extra mile for our friendship. It was a one-sided friendship on my part. I have been hurt by people I consider friends because I feel taken for granted.
Though this was true for a long period of time, last year was my eye opener. I realized that people have their own life and they have business to take care of. I've learned to accept the kind of friendship that is given to me without complaining. I have come to know that people or my friends will keep me as friends if they want to and that is a decision they make, not mine.
Though I have lost people I consider friends in the process I have been given more time and energy for friends and people that truly matter. I also come to understand my friends better and wait until they find time to share with me their lives.
I am not abandoned, I never was and never will be as long as God is with me.
Jesus, when I feel abandoned because no one seems to be reaching out, help me remember how You reached out and forgave those who truly abandoned You.
- Marci Alborghetti