Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lesson Learned: Miri Lets Go

A few years ago I went through a period of missing many of my college friends, and being really frustrated with the fluid state of relationships that occurs in Provo. I'd had some really good, really close guy friends, who had then gotten married and vanished from my life. Even though we'd never had any romantic involvement, they'd cut off all contact with me--and some other mutual friends--when they got engaged, as though they felt that they couldn't be friends with me anymore. 

This didn't make me feel very good. For one thing, I began to feel as though my friendship with these guys had just been a placeholder relationship, that they were using me to fill a space in between girlfriends. For another, I just really missed their company. Most of these relationships were actually very short as relationships go--about the length of a semester, on average--but because they involved a lot of loooong conversations, often until early hours of the morning, we'd gotten to know each other really well, and they'd come to be pretty important to me. 

I had a hard time with this for a while. I wrote some whiny blog posts and complained to my girlfriends, lamenting my situation, denouncing the awkwardness of BYU's male/female dynamics and blaming it for my predicament. (I have a slight tendency toward the dramatic in situations like these... I feel things very strongly.)

And then one day I stumbled across a quote that really struck me, and I wrote the following:
"That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet." --Emily Dickinson

I read this quote on my friend Alanna's Facebook profile, and suddenly I felt very silly for being so upset. Most things about life are temporary. That's just something we all have to deal with. So when things change in our lives, when people move on, we should be grateful for the time that we had with them, the things we learned, the memories that we'll always have... instead of being depressed that we can't go back to the way things were. If we could always go back to the way things were, we probably would, because people tend to cling to the familiar. But then we'd miss out on so much of what's waiting for us down the road; and when you look at it in retrospect, you can see that the things that you didn't know were waiting for you are usually just as sweet as the things you had to leave behind to get there.

So this is my lesson learned: That we are meant to experience life, not capture it.

People come into our lives, and then some of them leave. Sometimes we don't know why. But the nature of life is change, and no one can avoid it. Instead of being regretful about the loss of something we love, instead of letting that whole chapter become tainted with negative feelings, we should cherish our memories and be grateful for having had the experience.


Rachel M. Slough said...

This was just what I needed to hear today. Thank you so much.

Julie W said...

Very lovely thoughts and reminders.

I am dying to know the rest of the story, you can email me if you want since it is off topic. Once you got engaged and married, did you encourage your new husband to stay close friends with his female friends, or did you like to keep him all to yourself and inhale every second together?

I know very off topic from your main point. Sorry! An interesting thought from my life on this: my husband works with many women. They often invite him to go walk the parking lot with them on breaks or to lunch. He has chosen to keep his distance out of the office to avoid all appearance of the inapropriate. Plus we have been counseled to stay out of situations that could result in destructive results to a relationship.

If you and your husband have been able to stay very close with old opposite sex friends, how have you made that a successful and healthy relationship?

Meg said...

I remember this time so well. I still miss some of those people, but I understand better why things end. I remember when I went on a study abroad once, our professor talked about memories being like dandelion wine stored in our garage. (Ray Bradbury - I won't go into it.) Memories are always memories in time, like bottles of dandelion wine where we try to capture the summer. Even if you can go back to the same place, it isn't the same without the same people and relationships that existed the first time. All we can do is store up that little memory of how things were and treasure it - and then make new memories that we'll treasure of times we'll miss later.


Miri said...

Mike and I both still talk to some of our old friends on Facebook, but since we don't live near any of them, that's about the extent of it. We both had friends we hung out with while we were dating, but since we got married we've all moved away from each other so it's kind of a moot point. I honestly don't know how things would have gone if we still had those close friends in our lives now--as it was they'd all kind of disappeared before it became an issue.

Christine said...