It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend. ~William Blake, English poet and painter
I don’t know why we stayed friends as long as we did, but it’s my opinion some friendships are destined to die.
She and I first bonded more than a decade ago over our love for dogs.
As time passed, we did more interesting things together — lunches, shopping trips, spirited discussions on politics and religion. She introduced me to adult coloring; I proof-read the articles she wrote for a newspaper and a magazine.
Friends share like that, don’t they?
I let myself rely on the wisdom she’d gleaned over her years of living. Made excuses for the things she said that hurt my feelings. Shrugged off others’ not-so-generous opinions of her.
Friends are loyal like that, aren’t they?
We’d e-mail each other with funny or thought-provoking messages. We’d call and chat on the phone. We’d share insights into Scripture. When her husband took ill and died, I visited more often, trying to shore up her despair and lessen her loneliness.
Friends communicate, don’t they?
But one day last summer, she said some things that cut me deeply. Looking back, I don’t recall exactly what was said, but I knew it was unforgivable.
And so I returned the things she’d loaned me, fully intent on severing ties.
She refused to let me go. Said I was her best friend. Apologized. Promised she’d be more sensitive so nothing like that would ever happen again, and I succumbed.
Friends forgive and forget, don’t they?
Still, I found myself cautious around her. Made excuses not to get together with her. Steeled myself against more verbal barbs and arrows. As the proverb goes, Once bitten, twice shy.
And I was right.
Over the Christmas holidays — when most folks are on their best behavior — she again hit me right between the eyes.
Lambasted me for a decision I’d made. Reproached my actions. Ridiculed my feelings. Prophesied danger if I refused to follow her advice.
Sorry, but this time, I’m done.
I don’t treat anybody like that (especially a friend), and I won’t stand for anybody to mistreat me. If I don’t stand up for myself, who’s going to?
There’s a wonderful poem about friends entering our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Since this friendship has come to an end, it’s obvious it wasn’t meant for a lifetime.
So be it.
After all, friends don’t malign each other, do they?