Thursday, June 12, 2008

Second Chances

Generally I leave this blog's contents to fun family events, quippy anecdotes and the occasional really, really long story about trips to Chicago. For the most part, extremely personal issues are kept to myself. However, today I find myself blogging about something that happened over a year ago, and wondering if time can really heal.

Almost exactly one year ago I had a terrible falling out with one of my best friends. I had known her over 22 years and was terribly hurt by a few of her actions that occurred right before my wedding. Obviously, anyone who was at Brad's and my nuptials noticed the girl side was one person shorter than the boy side. This was was a result of me asking the best friend not to participate in my wedding. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and took a very large emotional toll on me. Looking back, I know I did the right thing for myself and for the circumstances, but now I find myself in familiar territory that always confuses me. Is forgiving and forgetting an option?

Over the 27 years of my life, I've been a forgiver, maybe too forgiving. I might even go so far as to say I allow myself to be walked on occasionally. However, my forgiveness occasionally comes at a price. I am famous for burying the proverbial hatchet and leaving the handle sticking waaaay out. Just ask my husband. He'll give you a thesis on my special way of "forgiving but remembering for later". It's no secret, sometimes I forgive but place the misgiving in the ol' filing system of my brain to retrieve later when it benefits me.

This best friend that hurt me over 300 days ago lives out of town. Like on the coast. Truthfully I think that has been a good thing. The space between us (both literally and figuratively) has helped me to reflect on the things that happened. So a month or so ago when I received an e-mail from her, I was open to reading it. I wasn't thrilled or impressed at the rather open-ended apology via e-mail, but at least it was something. The lines of communication were squeaked open and tomorrow she will be in town. I have agreed to meet her for lunch. With her new boyfriend. I must be completely honest; I am scared to death.

I didn't picture our reconciliation happening without Brad by my side as a buffer and new best friend, but he won't be able to attend. In all honesty, I'm not sure he's thrilled at the idea of me going alone or at all. Without going into gory details, the betrayal that occurred last year involved him as well, and therefore hurt him, too. I believe he deserves an apology. I may just have to accept what I have. Me, her and the new guy. All alone.

So my friends, my question is this: is true forgiveness possible when your friendship, trust and loyalty have all been severed at the same time? Can the wall be rebuilt without parts of it crumbling again? Should it be? Should 22 years of a friendship, albeit a seriously flawed one, be allowed to try again? Is it possible for me to truly forgive this person and leave it at that forever with no hatchets to pick up later. More importantly, this person has promised me she is different now. Can people really change? I'm hoping the answer to the last question is yes, otherwise my beautiful husband got way more than he bargained for when he married me.

I'll let you all know how the lunch goes tomorrow...


Anonymous said...

I think a lot of it depends on what she did to "betray" you in the first place...

Bess said...

i know a little bit of the background, thanks to wine night.

first and foremost i am so happy that she wrote you to apologize. it gives me hope for the world and for humankind in general. and more personally, it gives me hope for a falling out i had with my best friend as well.

you are so brave to go it alone. it's almost too bad that she is bringing her new boyfriend along. how big of you to allow that and how unfair of her to expect you to be ok with that.

i would go and listen. no way things can heal overnight but each little step forward makes the distance smaller to getting back to where you were. who knows it that could happen, or even if it should... but i think the less conflict and anxiety inducing relationships in life, the better.

good luck. you will be fine. we've all got your back.