Today I spent some time cleaning out the folders of my email account. It’s a job I’ve needed to do for at least a couple years, yet never seemed to get to.
As I sorted through my pile of online folders, I had to laugh at the scraps I found: order receipts from 2009, forwards I tucked away and promptly forgot, a note from my aunt about who was to bring what to Thanksgiving dinner in 2010. Seeing as how my sweet aunt now spends her thanksgivings in heaven, I decided to keep this one…
At any rate, as I reorganized, purged, and deleted this random stack emails, I knew there was one folder that lurked amongst the others. A folder I’ve avoided, ignored, and pretended to forget for all of six years. A folder I didn’t know what to do with.
For several minutes I sat and stared at my computer. I knew a series of five emails waited inside this folder, and I also knew that with just a few clicks I could transport myself to the spring of 2007 and a tangled web of memories that were made between me and the girl who, at the time, was my very best friend.
My goodness, how I loved this girl? I loved the way she laughed. I loved the way she made me laugh. I loved the way she brightened a room, just by walking into it. I loved the way she opened her heart and let me in, and took up a deep and lasting residence within mine. I loved the way she forced me to try new things, scary things, like Thai food and skinny jeans, and how a trip to T.J. Maxx was never the same without her.
More than anything, I loved sharing my life with her. Whether it was a weeknight dinner, a fight with my husband, or a conversation over coffee about God, or relationships, or our wildest dreams, there was nothing off limits between us. We were real, we were honest, we were at home with one another, and ‘friend’ seems too small a word to express what this girl was to me.
It’s not within the scope of this blog to relay what happened between us. All I will say is that my friend started traveling down a road that I couldn’t follow. Toward the end of our relationship, email became the only form of contact I had with her and it was through this series of emails that I fought for her and our relationship. In the end, it wasn’t enough. We parted ways and moved on in different directions.
Six years. Five emails. One gut wrenching end to a friendship I thought would last forever. I tapped my finger on the edge of my keyboard and considered what to do.
With just one click, I could delete these emails and send them into the void where they can never again open the wound that lingers. Or, I could click SAVE and hold onto to the last words I ever wrote to her. The words that, just like our friendship, gave everything and held nothing back.
In my heart, I knew the truth. These emails can never bring her back. They can’t change anything or prove anything. In reality, the only they can do is clutter up my inbox and make me really sad.
“It’s time,” I heard the still, small voice whisper. “It’s time to let them go.”
With His voice came a realization: the emails aren’t what matters. In the aftermath of this broken relationship all that matters, all I really need to hold onto is the truth and the knowledge that I loved her. I loved her when our relationship was bliss, and I loved her when it was broken. I love her still.
I moved the cursor and clicked, DELETE.
Wouldn’t it be nice if relationships came with their own DELETE buttons? Wouldn’t it be nice to hover a little arrow over the bad times, the hurt, the painful memories, and with one little click, erase them from our hearts?
Sweet friend, if you’re struggling in the wake of a broken relationship might I encourage you to allow your heart the time and chance to grieve the hurt and the loss. Remember that which was good and right and be thankful for what you were given. Trust not the lies, the memories, or the wishes for what might have been, but trust God and His ways, His plans.
When the still, small voice urges you that, “It’s time to let go,” might I encourage you to listen?
Let go. Click delete. Clean out the things that no longer matter, hold onto the things that do, and remember that His ways, His plans are always, always perfect. Remember that someday, this too, will be refreshed, restored, redeemed.
Jennifer, I’m so touched by your story. With much to think about, let me just say thank you for sharing a piece of your heart — and what God has shown you.
I’m glad you were touched by this story, Peter. I think difficulty in relationships is something we can all relate to. Thanks for reading and letting me share.
Excellent and touching blog, Jennifer. I believe Ness and I journeyed with you during this time :)! I appreciated your honesty, loyalty and passion for enduring friendship … and your realization that sometimes we need to embrace the truth in Amos 3:1 “If two do not agree how can they walk together?” It doesn’t mean that we did not love, or that we do not love now; just the realization that unity and authentic fellowship come with a price. And, that we must be willing to pay that price even if it is not reciprocated. Thanks for the reminder … and encouragement to keep loving others with freedom and surrender! – Dave
Absolutely, you and Vanessa were a huge part of what got Chris and I through this situation. I have no doubt that God placed you two in our lives during that time to walk with us, encourage us, and show us that even though close and authentic friendships come with a price they are always, always, worth it! Thank you so much for reading, Dave and for sharing your thoughts. Your love, support, encouragement and friendship is like gold to me! Always has been, always will be.
Wow that was real. Thank you for that. I hope that God has blessed you with people who love and value you so much. I certainly do!
He certainly has! I am more than blessed with friends who love and care for me, and you are definitely one of them. It would have been so easy to close off my heart after going through this break in friendship and believe me I was very tempted to do that, but God has affirmed to me, again and again, that close and authentic frienships are worth the price we sometimes have to pay. I am so glad that even though it hurt, I allowed my heart to stay open and willing to have this kind of relationship because i have been richly blessed by them and hope I always will be.