Monday, February 24, 2020

About a year ago (one year, two months, and nineteen days ago) I got a Facebook message from the woman I’d called — up until that day — my oldest friend. We’d gone to kindergarten together. We weren’t super close — ever, really — but, Lord — we had half a century of history together. And then one day I noticed that she’d unfriended me on Facebook.

I assumed it was a mistake — we hadn’t had a falling out or an argument. So I asked her, in a little private Facebook group that I’d created (foolish me) for her and me and three other friends, if she’d unfriended me, expecting the answer to be no, that it must have happened by accident.

Instead she wrote me a Facebook message telling me how horrible I was. She even objected to my asking “in front of” our other friends if I’d been unfriended (again — I never for even a second thought she’d done it on purpose and was shocked to learn otherwise). She went on to list a litany of horrors all ascribed to me.

My Facebook posts are “disturbing.” I’m “brash and uncaring.” I’m “negative.” I’m the Lucy in Peanuts “instead of one of the nicer sweeter characters.” She sees a lot of areas I could “improve on.” (No kidding.) On and on.

So for a year I’ve nursed hurt and resentment and anger. She damaged my relationship with our mutual friends, too, because as far as I know not one of them has stood up for me with her. On the one hand, I can understand — she hasn’t done anything bad to them, so they’re just stepping back. On the other hand, she hurt me really deeply and no one has offered me any comfort or encouragement. (Leading me — of course — to wonder if they agree with her. And let’s face it — the people I’m talking about are some of my oldest friends, but I rarely see them. They live in other states. If I’m as bad as all that, we don’t need each other, right?)

Anyway, in my Tuesday Bible study we are studying The Sermon on the Mount. And the lesson this week was on forgiveness. It’s not like I haven’t thought about this whole mess in the last year and wondered (and not wondered) what my responsibility should be. I couldn’t offer her forgiveness because she didn’t ask for it — she thinks I’m the awful person, not her. I could ask her to forgive me except I don’t really think most of her comments were fair, so it would be a false repentance. She gave a specific example about my behavior toward another of our friends and I talked to that friend about it. She, of course, had been absolutely fine with what I’d said, so there was no problem there. Her complaints were general — like I mentioned above.

There was one thing, though, that she mentioned that was about her. I’d said something that I’d honestly meant in a positive way, but she took it very negatively and I could understand how and why she did it. I’d assumed she’d understood — if she hadn’t, I figured she would have said something. But she had not understood and she had not said anything until this message, until this nuclear bomb of a message.

So tonight I wrote to her and asked for her forgiveness regarding that episode. I really tried to craft my words carefully — I wanted it to be a sincere apology, not one of those “I’m sorry if you were offended” kind of things, but I don’t know how well I did. I DID try, though.

Anyway, I sent the message and she read it and...that’s that. She didn’t respond at all.

Oddly enough, I don’t care. I mean, no matter what I don’t want to be her friend anymore — it’s too hard to be friends with someone who doesn’t give you the benefit of the doubt, you know? But I don’t want to be at fault because I don’t want my relationship with God affected because I am at odds with another Christian. So I’ve asked for forgiveness and I’m assuming she isn’t accepting my apology and I guess that’s the end of it. Or, at least, the ball is in her court. I don’t think there is anything else I can or should do. If there is, I’m sure the Lord will let me know.

The reason for this post is because I want to talk to someone about it. Ideally, I would like to talk to someone who knows both of us, but I feel like battle lines have been drawn and I’m over here all alone. If the people who know both of us and know the situation have chosen not to say anything, then I have no right to drag them into it. (“Blessed are the peacemakers—, I mean the folks who stay out of it...”)

I haven’t written a blog post in years, so my assumption is that no one will see this, and that’s okay (that’s what I want). I originally started blogging for me. I’ve said for years that I don’t know what I think about something until I’ve written about it and it’s the truth. So I’m hoping this will help me to process what I’ve done, what I should do. I don’t really know a better way for me to handle it.

Ideally, I’d like her to comment on my message and say, “Thanks. Apology accepted.” And the next time I see her we’d both be in heaven. Like I said, I’m not trying to renew anything because I don’t trust her, I can never rest in our relationship. I think about the Lord — and how he could never rest in any of his human relationships because all of us have betrayed him at one time or another (and over and over). I’ve confessed this mess to him — what I understand of it, I mean. Like I said, I don’t think she was right about everything — I’m not “brash and uncaring” (if I was, this still would not be bothering me so long after it happened. (And, anyway — I know I care. And I won’t say I care “too much” because I don’t think we CAN care too much about things, but there are only 24 hours in a day and I actually DO have folks in my physical location who seem to like me. I can rely on them more than I can rely on folks I really only see via Facebook, especially if I think I might be someone they just tolerate instead of actually like.)

Sometimes I really identify with the psalmist who wrote, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah. I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.”

I dream of running away, going someplace where no one knows me, where I could reinvent myself as “the quiet one.” (Ha) The only problem, of course, is that old saying, “Wherever you go, there you are.” The problem isn’t other people, it’s me. Hard to get away from that.

More later, maybe.