Years ago I enjoyed a friendship with someone who fell on hard times. When it happened, I pulled together all the of resources I had to be present to him through this time. I wanted so much for him to know he was supported and loved.
But crisis is time consuming, not to mention confusing. As years passed the crisis resolved. Yet our friendship was not. I’d backed away to try and let there be some space, and though I reached out from a distance we’d not been able to maintain the connection.
I often say there is a “season for all things” (not my quote btw) and I believe that to my core. When it comes to relationships I find this to be especially true. I have enjoyed many friendships that occupied a season, and then passed as we changed, or the seasons we were in did.
When I experienced the loss of my Daughter I found it difficult to maintain any friendships, mainly because I think as young moms some of my friends may have thought on some level that our “baby dying” could be contagious. And I was so overwhelmed with grief that those few friends who didn’t jump ship, didn’t hear much from me. I was always scared my grief would overwhelm them too. So I hid out and went to nursing school.
Fast forward, years and decades later, all of those “out of season” friendships were woven back into my life one way or another, in a natural and easy going way. I have always been grateful to know these ties come back around again. It’s like walking outside as the cold winter is coming to an end, and feeling a little warmth on your face. Natural and easy and they were back in my life.
So a few years ago when this friend of mine fell into crisis and we grew distant, I was not alarmed. Of course I didn’t want that to be the case, but I understood the “season for all things” principle and continued to reach out very sporadically.
This summer, we crossed paths, and we were both happy to see one another. We made a plan to meet up in the future to break bread, and recently, we did just that. Completely unexpectedly, my friend thanked me for the support I’d rendered, and said he’d meant to tell me that for a long time.
I didn’t need that apology, as I know somewhere down deeply, that we all do the best we can. I missed the friendship but never felt like I should have done something differently.
After his words came out, even though they weren’t necessary, I said, “You’re very welcome.” And we moved on.
Later in reflection, I realized that no matter how much time has passed since a kindness was done for us, there is no expiration date on gratitude. There are endless ways to thank someone, but I do feel like we are all a little lax with expression of intentional gratitude.
It’s so easy to send a “thanks!” text, or “like” a message to show our Joy, that we sometimes leave it at that. For me, this face to face, good old fashioned “thank you” reminded me that not only is it always just the right time to say thank you, but looking the person right in the eyes when you do so can be a gift all its own.
”Thank You” for reading!