How many times have you "lost" a friendship or a relationship only to find that some time later it returned?
Every time it happens to me, I'm shocked. So many times, I have thought a certain friendship or family relationship was over, destroyed, permanently altered only to find that days, weeks, months, and often years later the whole situation just kind of righted itself.
I wanted this to be the weekly topic because I know how saddened these absences have made me and perhaps this little blog could be a reminder to those reading who are sad about a friendship, lover, family member or work relationship that things can change in the most miraculous ways.
If we are open for the relationship to heal we can leave the "how" to someone else...
Here are several examples of absolutely astonishing reunions.
The Missing Person
My first official non-family friend was Craig. I was two, he was four. I don't remember the early days, but what I do remember is that he lived in the house behind me and we spent countless hours playing GI Joe, dress up, animal hospital and climbing trees. He was the best neighbor. We never fought and my family loved him. Ultimately, he made living in the woods an absolute joy.
In those days you only needed to dial 4-digits to call your neighbor. So, I would dial 8443 and ask "Can You?"
15 minutes later he would bound through the forest appearing at our back door.
Then Craig moved. I was 10. I never found him again. He wasn't on Facebook and we somehow never connected after that. It was like a death.
But then last year, twenty-plus years after his departure, he appeared in the most unlikely place...the workplace of my other childhood best friend. She recognized him and now she has befriended this gem. I have not seen him yet, but just knowing that I will this Spring brings such a sense of joy and peace that I am even further encouraged in all things.
Craig is back.
The Rejected Parent
Then there are the relationships you think are damaged beyond repair. Actions and words, we believe, have destroyed the very fabric of love that made what we had so precious. But this too can be transformed, transmuted, healed in astonishing ways if both parties can prioritize love over pain, or self-rightesousness.
My mother had to leave when I was 12. I say "had to leave" because I see now that to find herself she had to go. But anyone who has had their primary caretaker walk out knows heartbreak and the years it can take to heal that wound. I am one of the fortunate ones because she always worked to keep the connection with me, but honestly, once that bond of trust was broken it seemed impossible to ever really heal.
And it has taken years...10, 20 maybe. But now? Now, I have a mother who looks twenty years younger than her age because she left to build a wonderful life for herself. She married a man who as in turn touched my life immeasurably and they both have become two of my best friends.
The transmutation of a parent from a source of pain to cherished friend, confidante and role model can be one of the most meaningful.
Oddly these too can find their place. Intimate relationships once destroyed often seem to have obliterated hearts into billions of fragments of space dust that could never possibly be reunited into something solid or whole.
If both are willing, with time, peace can be achieved, if not complete celestial reunion.
The biggest one for me came two years ago. Christmas morning two Decembers ago, we went to Church. Nothing remarkable for me happened during the service, but afterwords we stood in the memorial garden.
All of a sudden and I felt this wave of forgiveness for the intimate relationship that had hurt me most. I literally felt a wave of pain leaving my body, from my belly up and out through my heart.
During brunch, I explained to my family, "the oddest thing happened in the garden. I just felt this wave of forgiveness for him. I can now, finally, truly wish for his happiness and well-being."
Now, let me be clear hear. This was two years after the break up, but apparently it was still strangling my heart. Not a word or email had been exchanged during that two year period.
Within 48 hours of that Christmas revelation, I received an email from him saying to the effect, "Sarah, something just compelled me to write you. I looked at the last email you wrote me that I didn't have the courage to read two years ago. I would really like to talk to you."
We talked, we met, and some pieces were healed. Not everything. We are not a couple and we shouldn't be. But at least it has shifted and the silence is broken.
The Best Friend
Similar stories have happened to me with "The Best Friend," "The Boss," "The Teacher."
In fact, this past two month three important relationships came back in a new way. Three!
Facebook, etc. makes these reconnections easier than in the days when I lost Craig.
However, in every case where miraculous healings have occurred, I have been willing and able to let go of the hurt in the hopes that something greater or new may occur.
"What about death?" you say. Well that only matters if you believe in death as a finality. I don't. I see it as a transition. A topic for another post perhaps. I believe you will see these people again too.
If you have lived and loved you have suffered in relationship. If you choose to still love, you will suffer again.
When the opportunity comes to change the "end" of the story, you may find you cannot even remember exactly how the relationship became derailed.
In the recovery process, none of that seems to matter.
Forgetting can be helpful. Here's to forgetting. Hope this post makes readers a little more open to the delicious and surprising ways life keeps the story going.
Oh and if you think all your relationships are perfect, don't worry. You'll screw something up soon enough and have an opportunity to fix it. That's just how this place seems to work.
Ok, off you go..
Paddle on...go see who's around the bend, today...
Sarah Federman, PhD
Enjoy these short blogs and videos designed to bring you a little cheer.
My other blog Language of Conflict addresses the importance of word choice and narration in conflict.
Finish and Flourish supports writers struggling to complete projects.