Tonight I am missing old friends. When I left the Christian church, I lost a lot of friends that meant so much to me. The kind of friends you know you'll be close to forever, even if life and miles separate you. Years ago, I wrote a letter to my closest friends explaining to them why I was leaving and imploring them not to stop loving me or let our friendship die. Sadly, the friendships did die. Maybe this was my fault, too, I'm not blaming anyone. Many of my closest friends told me "You've changed so much", or "You seem so unhappy". The first was true in many ways, I had changed, but the second was completely untrue - I was happier than I'd ever been in my life and finally felt that I had made a decision completely based on what was right for me, a concept that would have once been out of the question. Any decision made for my own happiness was selfish and mis-prioritized. Happiness was something I was lucky to have if I was putting God first, not something to be focused on or sought after. Happiness was shallow, secondary to living a faithful and Godly life. One friend, my dearest at the time and with whom I shared many wonderful experiences, wrote to me and in her letter said if I was ever to have children with this man I intended to marry, I would be damning my children to an eternity in hell. Her words stuck like a knife. They carry even more injury now that I actually have two precious children with the aforementioned man. Another told me, once I had explained to her how wonderfully happy I was in my new life, that she was 'too sad to write anything more back'. Why? Because I have chosen a different path spiritually? Because something as deeply personal as my religious beliefs no longer perfectly coincided with hers?!
I should probably just get over it all, leave it in the past and carry on and I would, if only I'd been able to make friends easily in my 'new life'. I have a couple very dear friends and for that I am so very blessed, I don't know what I'd do without them, but it doesn't make the loss of friends I once thought I'd have forever less injurious.
Of course, I'm still "facebook friends" with them. Whatever that means. I read their blogs and follow their status updates, just beyond arm's reach and completely out of touch aside from my peekings-in on what they choose to make available. Every so often I comment on a post, which is occasionally politely but curtly responded to. I wonder often if they miss me, and if so, how something as trivial as a religious opinion could keep us apart. I wish it wouldn't, but I understand how it does. I felt the same way once and would have done the same.
So here's to old friends, who, in a perfect world, wouldn't care what the other believes, what church they attend, or what makes them happy, but instead love would transcend all differences and bridge all gaps.
Maybe someday, but not tonight.