Love and Other Words

O R I G I N A L L Y  W R I T T E N 
F E B R U A R Y  2 0 1 8 

Over my morning coffee and quick newsfeed scroll, I came across a quote that read, "Sometimes when the people you love hurt you, it's better to stay quiet.  Because if your love wasn't {already} enough, do you think your words matter?"  Being someone that never really knows when it's the right time to speak up or be quiet, it resonated with me more than I had expected.

I dreamt of something last night that's been *off* my mind for quite some time. There I was, embracing with friends with whom I had grown apart from due to time and distance, no rhyme or reason, and we had all reunited. Smiles and laughter ensued, an unidentified friend in a long, flowing, red dress appeared, and the night was beautifully unfolding. As the dream continued, the mood shifted to the new reality of broken friendships and a somber tone settled in. Suddenly everyone had faded into the distance and just one remained by my side and our conversation had turned serious.

That was all I remembered. And as funny as it sounds, I hadn't remembered it at all until I saw the quote below, then it all came rushing back like a waterfall.

The hurt. The groveling over a dead friendship. The secrecy of it all. The fact no one knew and I had to pretend that she was fine, that everything was fine, every time we were all together. How it all impacted my husband and his friendships. Trying to figure out what I did wrong, why I was so suddenly disliked by this dynamic couple, once closest as can be to them. The trying to rectify it but being greeted with literal hate. Going to events in which all of our friends were there, and one specific person dead set on rejecting me openly. I still don't know how no one saw it. Despite all of this, the burning feeling to find a way to forget all the mystery of why and go back to how it used to be, all the while knowing it was a toxic relationship in so many ways, just would not fade. I really loved these people and these friendships deep, deep down in my soul. I wanted it regardless of the pain because somehow in the back of my mind, I thought we could replace all of the bad with the way it used to be. Then the ultimate betrayal happened, and never again do I wish for these people to be in my lives.  But why did they have to take all of my friends with them? 

As I reflected, I recalled the book I am reading. It is about the strong friendship of two high school girls and the waters they tread, memories they make, and their sudden falling out that keeps them separated in haste for over 18 years. I now know why I was having this dream.  The person I was talking to in the final moments of my dream is not the one who hurt me.  She is the innocent collateral.  And I believe she was representing everyone.  All the innocent collateral that I have lost because one couple chose to lie.

Over the course of the day, I kept finding myself writing mental notes to the innocent ones in this entire scheme.  Eager to find my voice.  Be seen in LIGHT not dark.  And mostly, for the truth to prevail.

You see.  I have pretty tough skin. I can handle criticism. I know I am not everyone's cup of tea and I am perfectly okay with it. But one thing I am not okay with is the misperception of being someone I am not.  And in this instance, that is exactly what has happened.

These feelings have been buried, lately, much in part due to the love of a ridiculously amazing husband {and family} and core group of forever-friends who know my heart better than even I know it myself. But somewhere deep inside, on cold, brisk mornings like these, I still wish for my voice to be heard.  It's not to defend.  Or to sell-out.  Or to tell-all.  If it was that, it would have happened months ago.  It's to be hated, disliked, disrespected (whatever the adjective may be) for the right reasons.  For the truth.  Not someone else's lies.

I would far rather be loved for exactly who I am, flaws and all, than to be loved pretending to be someone I am not.  But I really struggle with not being loved for something someone makes up about me when their words and lies are absolutely the furthest from the truth.  That, my friends, has been one tough pill to swallow, even if these friends aren't my closest people anymore. 

I work hard to live with grace, walk in truth {which sadly, my truth about sharing how the Lord worked in and through me, teaching me grace is what led to this discord with others} and treat others the way I want to be treated.  It's funny because it is that grace and love that the Lord weaved into my heart that was the driving force and catalyst behind protecting those who hurt me so badly when my flesh wanted to yell all I had been through for years and years, and the final betrayal that ended it all.  

In the end, I was blamed. oh. so. blamed.  Blamed for being insensitive.  Blamed for being a bad friend.  Blamed for so many things, yet not one of the people who placed blame picked up the phone and called me to ask what really happened years ago....all those years where I remained silent were completely forgotten.  Except the ones who did talk to me, chose to call it all "fresh." 

If they only knew. 

If. They. Only. Knew. 

It was so much easier and so much more gratifying (I guess) to assume the worst of someone who had given their very best to save a friend.  Truly.  Gave it all.  But who would know when no one had asked?  And that friend who I protected at all costs, after everything, so effortlessly allowed the blame to be shifted to me, igniting the wildfires, watching them spread.

I know I have a voice and that I can still speak up.  I have about six good, sturdy legs to stand on, but just as the graphic says, if my love wasn't enough {for these friendships}, will my words even matter?  And the answer to that is a resounding no.  That's the most painful part. 

I learned from this experience in a painful way that people are going to believe what they want to believe regardless of truth and lies.  People who strive to really love well-roundedly and for Christ, will seek the truth, even if they may not want to hear it.  Truly good people won't hate others for what they didn't actually do.  Christ-seekers won't ruin a relationship with the innocent to defend the guilty.

The heart hurts because it saw the truth of how these friends viewed me: completely disposable.

Until then, none of them were disposable to me at all, even if we didn't talk but a few times per year.  

Maybe someday I will write that letter, confront the lies, or try to redeem myself, but for now, I am just going to rise above the hurt and keep loving.  Keep making an effort, keep granting grace, keep remembering that I can't judge others on the perspective they were given.  I can only hope that someday through the Lord, through the one who has been the cause of all of this, or through the powers that drive their souls, they see me for who I really am, the role I played, and the protection I provided.  

One thing I am sure of is that this is exactly where the Lord wants me right now. 

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