Happy New Year! It’s 2010 already, wow. What was your Dec 31 like? Mine was unexpectedly beautiful.
I met a good friend for lunch (Christy) who invited along a mutual friend whom I do not know so well (Vanessa) but am happy to see nonetheless. Christy and I got to know Vanessa though Flora, a dear dear friend who departed us to be with God in Aug last year. The fact we know each other is a creation of Flora’s magic.
So three girls sat at TCC @ Novena Square (or is it Square 2? I remain stubbornly confused) yakking away about iPhones, Vanessa’s new cooking classes, my recent NZ trip, past holiday experiences, etc etc. Girls talk. We then adjourned to Christy’s place to continue our chat.
We talked without a script and what a conversation we had. This was a conversation that none of us had planned to have. It was nothing fancy, nothing grand, some parts of it not pretty; it was free flow, emotional and most of all, it was real. We shared our lives, our common missing for Flo. We laughed, teased, joked and at the end , we had a group hug and I couldn’t help the tears welling up in my eyes.
I felt aligned and finally, free. You see, for a long while now, I have been feeling guilty about my friendship with Flo and Christy. We were close like sisters several years ago – they mean everything to me and I couldn’t have survived a particularly difficult period of my life if not for their unwavering support and love. They are the kind of friends whom some people don’t get in their entire lifetime. I have two, not just one, of such gifts.
We drifted apart in recent years and I feel that I have a big part to play in that. I did not deliberately sabotage the friendship we shared but being the way I was being in the last few years, I inevitably pushed them away. Flo and Christy got incredibly close and I became a bystander. For the longest time, I felt that I am so far behind and there was always so much catching up (with the two of them) to do.
Then Flo left us. I ran out of time. The hole will be there, forever now and it is filled with regrets that I was such not a better friend to her. As for Christy, I tried to be a better friend but I was guilty of over-compensating. With each attempt to keep the friendship together, I felt I pushed her further away. Honestly, it felt like a lost cause.
On Dec 31, I was given the chance to free myself from these negative emotions. I had asked Christy out for lunch but was not sure how it would be. What should I say? How should I be? Mainly I was saying to myself, try not to screw up.
The lunch turned out to be so much more than I ever expected or could ever have planned. I realised that by trying to be a better friend than I was in the past, I was living in the past. I was competing with my own ghosts from the past and missing out the whole present and more importantly, the future of our friendship.
Yes, I missed out on a lot of their lives in the last few years (or maybe longer). There is nothing I can do about it now and trying to play catch up is futile. Relationships are not linear; you don’t just add and minus events and emotions like a discrete statistics to add up the whole. It is an experience. I have missed out on the experiences they shared and that will always be the case. There is not one god damn thing I can do about that.
What I can do is to take responsibility for my own actions in the past and acknowledge that I was out of integrity with two of the most important people in my life. I can take responsibility for the way I was being in the past. What I can do is to be a better friend NOW; there is only now going forward. Instead of acting out of guilt and inadequacy, I can choose to be the friend she needs, the kind of friend I want to be.
So in that afternoon as we talked, I felt exonerated. Vanessa played a key part in this for she reminds me so much of Flo. Flo was our only common link up to that afternoon. In that few hours, I felt a new friendship in the making, one that is gifted to me by Flo but up to me to create and nurture. A second chance it seems but independent of the past.
Flo is still working her magic on me I believe. God worked his grace and compassion through her – I am once again, touched by an angel. What a way to end the year.
p/s Christy: I hope you read this for these are words I have struggled to tell you for a long time. I need you to know I have always loved you and always will. Thank you for your generosity and love and most of all, just being the way you are.