Tonight, as I thought about and prayed for someone close to me, it occurred to me how heartbreakingly simple it is to write people out of our lives. I was feeling this first on behalf of my loved one; the hurt of lost friendship; when I suddenly saw myself on the other side.
“Anything worth having is worth fighting for,” may be a cliché, but it is reality; especially when it comes to relationships. The people in our lives arrive there in many different ways. Some are related to us; others we have called friend for so many years, we can’t say when “we” began; and then there are those who have stepped into our lives more recently, but have just connected. Some people are just easy. We agree on stuff, have similar values and lifestyles, and we don’t have to worry about offending or being offended. My favorites! Then there are the rest, with various levels of work required to maintain the relationship. Sometimes it’s just now and then learning to keep opinions to myself, sometimes it’s patience and tolerance, sometimes it’s the determination to listen and get what they are all about, and sometimes it’s about making regular, conscious decisions to forgive intentional or unintentional hurts. And that probably doesn’t even begin to cover the possible challenges. That is when we see the relationship as “worth fighting for.”
But then something happens, or we just wake up one day, and we see things differently. “What is the big deal? Why am I putting myself through this? Don’t I have enough to worry about in my life without ….? I have plenty of friends who are no trouble; why should I put up with this?” That’s it. We emotional divest ourselves of the troublesome connection, and breathe a sigh of relief. We may get the word out that we are not longer available to that person, or we might just be satisfied to subtly withdraw without any official break in ties.
Everything’s fine. Right? I’m not leaving mad; I’m just leaving. Maybe we weren’t that close, anyway, so what’s the big deal?
Now this next part is harder to articulate, because it is the other side; the side of the person who is written out of the story. They also wake up one day and realize they weren’t “worth fighting for.” And the impacts, of course, will all be different. Maybe they will really feel the loss like a deep cut, or maybe just a scratch. Maybe it will be just another rejection, which is the story of their life, and they tell themselves they don’t care anyway. Maybe it will just be a dull ache that they will try not to think about, but will color their others relationships, and darken their faith in people in general.
This is way too many words to inadequately express the sadness I felt as I considered the idea: how easy it is to make a simple decision to disconnect from someone. How easy to just walk away and not look back. And how heartbreaking it is to discard a person like we would an old pair of shoes.
I’m thinking the Apostle Paul didn’t write I Corinthians 13, with “easy people” in mind. When he talked about love being patient, not seeking its own, not being provoked, not taking into account a wrong suffered, bearing all things; those are the battle cries of fighting for a relationship. I’m thinking I need to be more of a fighter.