It’s no secret that I was feeling a little down towards the end of last week and the beginning of the weekend. With schoolwork piling up, Shaun on vacation and the days not-so-slowly ticking down until the wedding…I’d be lying if I said I was only a little stressed. So (although it probably wasn’t the wisest choice given all of that schoolwork piling up) I decided to take the weekend off and have a mini-getaway of my own, in Chicago!
Well…not quite. You see, the specific purpose of the trip was to see/catch up with a friend from high school who I hadn’t seen in forever, who lives in the suburbs of Chicago. And to meet her fiance!
Aren’t they the cutest? Answer: Yes they are. (Image from Facebook, Photo by Heart 2 Art)
While we didn’t make it downtown, I did have a fantastic time seeing the seminary where she goes to school now, and visiting her alma mater. I can’t thank her, her fiance, and her friends enough for making me feel welcome and for including me in their shenanigans this weekend. It was a much needed escape from law school and real life.
The best part of this trip for me was the great conversation that it sparked: about friendships, about God, about relationships, about our hometown…about life in general.
The discussions about friendships were the ones that got to me the most, particularly given the situation that we found ourselves in. We’d been nearly inseparable during the later part of middle school and the beginning part of high school…and then all of a sudden we weren’t any more. I know why. I’m sure she does too. To be entirely honest, it was mostly because she was trying to be a good friend…and I wasn’t willing to listen at the time. I’ll be the first to admit that I was a nightmare during my junior and senior year of high school. I am ashamed of who I was at that time, and it’s amazing that the few people who I consider my “friends” from that time will even still talk to me, because I wasn’t a very good friend at all. I’d like to think that I’ve mostly grown past those parts of me now, but I can still see them there, beneath the surface. When I’m stressed, when I’m angry, when I’m feeling alone. In that way, I was grateful for the opportunity to start over with her, to try to fix the friendship we had before I broke it.
Fortunately, this weekend she welcomed me with open arms. (Literally…there was a lot of hugging. :)) For once, I found myself being completely honest about some things that I am never completely honest about. Maybe it was because I hadn’t seen my friend in so long, and so despite our history it was really like starting our friendship from zero. Maybe it was because they’re both so open and loving that I felt like, for once, I wouldn’t be judged. Sometimes it was difficult…other times it felt so natural that I couldn’t believe that we had drifted apart for so long.
There was one point in the weekend that we discussed people that, for better or worse, you just drift away from because you’ve become too different. You still care about each other, but the friendship isn’t what it used to be. Although neither of us said it, I couldn’t help but wonder if that was the place that we found ourselves in now. Almost like, “well, this was a nice gesture…but what was this trip really about?” I can’t speak for her, but for me, this has always been the one friendship that I regretted losing. The one that I wanted to get back. But that takes a lot of courage…something that I usually severely lack.
Although we don’t talk as often as we used to, I consider her a role model. In a way, I think I always have. When we do talk, she’s a positive influence in my life, much more so than some of the people that I interact on a day-to-day basis. I see the love between her and her fiance (even when they argue), and I pray for that sort of patience when it comes to my own relationship. I see the personal connection that they both have with God, and I know that it’s time to stop sitting on the sidelines and actually start actively working on my relationship with Him too. I know that friendships can’t be one way, and I don’t know if I offer her much of anything in return for all of these positive things that I find in her. But I hope that maybe I do. That maybe we can build that relationship again. It won’t be like it used to be, I know that. Because we’re both different, and have wonderfully different lives than the ones we lived in high school. But to me, that’s a good thing. A way for us to become actually close friends now – because we choose to be, not just because we happen to live in the same small town.