I used to think that once you became friends with someone, they were meant to have a lifelong connection to you. We moved a lot and I used to work hard to try to hang on to all those friends I’d made along the way. But the more we moved, the more people I had to try to stay in touch with and I started to get overwhelmed…feeling burdened with the task of doing so. I was trying to be a “good friend” to dozens, if not hundreds, of people and it was a juggling act I was failing at. IMHO
I was sharing this with a friend a few years ago and told her how the guilt was eating me alive for not being a better friend to these people. She looked me straight in the eyes and said “Most people are only intended to be in your life for a season. God uses them to help you or teach you something and then they move on. We’re not supposed to run after every person we’ve ever met.”
Social media has allowed us to stay attached to people for much longer than is normal for relationships with friends. That can be good or bad depending on the relationship you had with them. If the relationship was not a healthy one, sometimes the best thing you can do is cut ties and move on. If the relationship was a good one, it can still cause problems for our present circumstances by causing us to linger in the past and not live in the moment.
I’m not advocating cutting off everyone you know every time you move, but I am thinking out loud and wondering what is the most healthy thing you can do for both parties involved. I think I’m going to need more time to flush this idea out. My thought today is that I am called to live in the present and minister to those who cross my path today. I will continue to “be friends” on social media with hundreds of people from my past, but I’m going to let go of the guilt of missing a birthday greeting or not commenting on every one of their posts. They need to live in the moment just as much as I do and maybe that means we both take a harder look at the people “in our neighborhood.”
What’s your take on long term, long distance friendships?
Feel free to share this post and subscribe to this blog for more “reflections.”