Friendships come and go and it can be hard to cope with those losses. How can we be satisfied through our deepest aches?
We all need the kind of friends who welcome us whole. The kind of friends who make space for all of who we are—every intricate insecurity and celebrated characteristic. It’s as if we are going about our way, all through life, waiting for friends to find us—really find us. To see us and to say all the things we ever needed to hear. Like, we are wanted for who we are and wanted for how we are.
I found friends like this in the first half of my life, and then I lost them just shortly after I moved, around middle school. In an effort to keep these friends, I poured my heart out—page after page—in notes penned, stamped, and sent in the mail. At first, return letters came, but in time they became less and less until they ceased altogether. I no longer heard about boys and bad grades. I no longer knew who cut their hair or who got cut from the spring musical or sports tryouts. I no longer heard about strict teachers, nice teachers, or fun teachers. Instead, my mailbox grew empty while my heart grew lonely.
This was the first time I’d ever felt the fracturing of friendships, a whole crack that split so badly it caused a canyon of a chasm between myself and the best friends I ever had.
Friendship matters because it matters to be seen, matters to invite another into the deepest wells of our hearts, just as they invite us into the deepest wells within their hearts. We bare our very souls, confessing the things we’ve seen and thought, our dreams and deepest fears. In this, losing a friendship matters because it is like losing a part of ourselves. When a friendship fades or fails or falls apart, it’s like we are forever reminded that there is someone out there who knows us, who holds pieces of information about us, pieces of us.
In all my moving, changing, and growing, I don’t recall many conversations that made space for the loss of friendships. And so when I look back on my teenage years, it makes sense why I became a pen pal—a writer of letters. I sought so desperately to cling to the ones I loved. I wrote letters to hold the line on our connections. I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t know how to.
These losses matter.
In case no one has told you, the loss of a friend is no small feat. In fact, the loss of a friend (or a few) is a large loss, often with pain that persists and haunts. It’s hard to reconcile that someone we used to know is alive and (seemingly) well without us, though our hearts still care and pine for connection with them. It’s hard to know and trust when it’s time to say goodbye and let someone (or something) go.
What’s even harder, however, is trusting that, in and through all our seasons, God really can satisfy our deepest ache for friendship—both in fellowship with Him and through His divine direction to new friendships.
Perhaps we don’t have to flounder in this area anymore. Perhaps we can flourish, putting our faith in God and in new friendships.
What if you started anew?
What if you started to know and trust that you are not alone in the world? What if you released yourself from your haunted histories, from the guilt and grip of those who left you grieving though they still walk this earth, roaming wild and free? What if you saw beyond your brokenness and, once again, believed in the beauty of friendship?
To befriend another—even after everything that you’ve been through—is to believe in the miracle of hope after heartache. To befriend another—even at this stage and age— is to believe that you are worthy of being wanted for who you are and how you are.
It’s true—friends will come and go all through life. But, even so, there is One who will always stay. Come what may, as you open yourself up on this journey of knowing others and being known yourself, may you always find friendship and fellowship in Him.
- Have you lost a friend, either long ago or recently? Take a moment to acknowledge the grief you may feel from that loss and ask God to help you heal.
- How has God been like a friend to you recently? Take a moment to think about God as our truest friend and thank Him for His steadfast love.
- How can you reach out in friendship to someone today? Is there someone you feel God nudging you to befriend recently, or a friend who might need extra help right now? Make a plan to reach out in friendship to someone you know today.
Rachel Marie Kang is a New York native, born and raised just outside New York City. She is a writer of poems, prose, and other pieces, and she is the founder of Fallow Ink. A mixed woman of African American, Native American (Ramapough Lenape Nation), Irish, and Dutch descent, she is a graduate of Nyack College with a Bachelor of Arts in English with Creative Writing and a minor in Bible. Her writing has been featured by Christianity Today, Charlotte Magazine, and (in)courage. Rachel lives and writes just outside Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband and two children. Connect with her at RachelMarieKang.com and on social media @RachelMarieKang.
If you were touched by Rachel’s words today or know someone who could use her encouragement for the grief they are facing, consider her book The Matter of Little Losses: Finding Grace to Grieve the Big (and Small) Things.