Sunday, September 08, 2013

Wearing Ones Guilt Like a Bag of Cement

Another summer re-run, this one from 2010. Because this is the stuff which has set me free to live these present contented days...

I have a friend (or had one-- you decide) who would feel so guilty about not reciprocating my gestures of friendship, that she'd 'hide' from me. And then feel guilty some more.

Oh my. We'd have the best times ever when we'd get together two or three times yearly. We'd laugh and relax and watch movies in our basement or go out to eat or share lunch with our husbands or visit at outdoor church functions. We had much in common.

But then Life would get in the way, especially for her since she has a real job, and too, she lives a distance away over the New York state thruway, the stretch which makes me oh-so-nervous. So always there were obstacles to our getting together, but as I said, when we did, we both agreed it was grand. Simply grand.

Once a couple years passed that we didn't see each other but I wrote letters, mailed a couple gifts and she called me sometimes and sent Christmas cards. More time passed then her husband called and asked if he could bring 'Sarah' over to our house as a surprise because he knew she'd been missing me, yet imagining I was upset with her because she'd allowed our friendship to go stale. Silent, even.

So he brought her over and Sarah was so happy her husband had 'pushed' her into this visit. And after I assured her that I'd never been mad at her, we proceeded in having the sweetest fellowship ever. Well, except that she reiterated her list of all the things in this life which make her feel guilty.

Sarah had a long list. It wasn't a list with big-time sins--she's robbed no banks nor committed any murders and has never, ever even thought about straying from her marriage. No, not things like that, but rather, she still felt guilty that, when her daughter was young, she prayed she'd be popular because, Sarah, herself, had struggled with her own unpopularity in high school. Her daughter did indeed become popular, a fact Sarah regrets because she believes her daughter's popularity was the source of all her hardships in high school and ever since. With every mistake her daughter makes, Sarah blames herself for those 30-year-old prayers.

That's the kind of guilt I mean, the kind which rides around upon your head like a heavy, uncomfortable bag of dry cement, veering you into a ditch to the left, then a ditch to the right due to great imbalance. And slowing down every single journey you take.

Since moving to this farm we live even farther from Sarah and her husband and though I've sent cards and notes, I've not heard back from my friend for at least 5 years. I've emailed her --unanswered, all. Sarah, I know, has slipped back into believing I'm mad at her, when actually, I'm just sad. Sad that, for the 17 years I've known her, Sarah's life seems to go from one sad, guilty ditch to another, seldom varying from the well-worn veering path where condemnation leads her. And to a place where it's hard for me to believe we'll ever find each other again.

And today if you, too, are walking that same path, I hope you will remind Sarah (if you see her) and yourself that Jesus died to carry all that guilt away. And the conviction He now brings is wrapped inside a Love so great, a burden so light, that there are never, ever any bags of dry cement within His outstretched hands. There's only guidance, light and freedom and a straight path to joy, acceptance and forgiveness.


"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." ... Matthew 11:29, 30

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."   ... Romans 8:1


This weekend Tom and I watched the movie, Knight and Day (Netflix disc). What a fun film!


To everything, there is a season-- even friendship.


Bonnie said...

I must have read this originally in 2010 but I enjoyed it all over again just now. I imagine there isn't a mature woman alive who hasn't lost a girlfriend somehow over the years and not really understood it. It boggles the mind. Always good to know we're not alone, I guess! Thanks, Debra.

Robin in New Jersey said...

Have you heard from her since you wrote this post?

I agree that people are brought into our lives for a season. Sometimes those seasons are really long, sometimes, short, always God ordained.

My big pet peeve is when a friendship parts ways, for various reasons, people say, "Oh they weren't really your friend then." No, just a perfect example of "to everything there is a season."

Great post Debra also about the guilt we bring upon ourselves.

Have a great week!

Debra said...

Bonnie--I'm glad this post resonated with you. Thanks for letting me know!

Robyn--I've heard from 'Sarah' just once since 2010. After she affirmed my friend request at Facebook she said 'thank-you' when I later wished her a happy birthday. But that's all.

Tom and I did have a great conversation with her husband at a memorial service last year and he promised to invite us out to their home, but we never heard back from him. Alas.

I've let go of many friendships in the past for various reasons, but this is the only one that I feel ended too soon, and not just that, but I continue to feel sad for Sarah's burdens which she can't seem to release.

Thanks, Ladies, for your words... Blessings, Debra

Anonymous said...

I suppose most of us have gone through similar things here and there. I once had a great friend, while hubby was in the Navy. Only heard from her 2 times after we all got transferred. Remember the song, that went: "If you can't be with the one you love; love the one you're with." That seems to fit that situation. I have missed her. I assume she maybe has even forgotten me now these 38 years hence. Makes one more thankful for the friendships that never end.

Interesting you shared this brother recently wrote to say no more contact (we do not believe exactly alike...tho' he truly does not know much about what I think as we have not had very much contact for nearly all the years of his marriage as his wife prefers to keep him to herself). One can learn to live with such situations however. His wife has not missed an occasion to be nasty, so now I just feel relief. But sad too...mostly for him. Relationships are not easy...or only seldom are.
Elizabeth in WA