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The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course.

Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still lived in the tiny hometown where we both grew up. Overall though, she looked happy in her pictures. However, I could not help but see how different our lives had turned out.

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Many of my childhood memories were made with her. We conquered a lot of first times side by side. We could finish each other’s sentences and a simple look from the other was enough to tell us exactly what needed to be said without any words passing our lips. At one time, we were inseparable and now we were mere strangers. If I am honest, the walk down memory lane left me deflated and raw.

I always thought our friendship was unbreakable, only to find it more fragile than glass the older we got.

I began reflecting on my friendships and could not help but notice how drastically different each one was in a particular season of my life. Some were friendships that changed just as quickly as the season while others weathered the storms and changes that are prone to happen when entering adulthood.

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No two friendships were the same, but they were exactly what I needed for that time in my life. Even now, in this particular life stage, I know there are some friendships that will continue long after the children are grown. I also know there are friendships with some precious ladies in my life that will not last longer than the season we are now residing. And it is OK.

It made me look back on my high school friend with a new perspective.

We had some great times, but as we changed, we grew apart, not together. The separation hurt, but we had gone as far as we could together.

I had allowed the disintegration of that relationship to taint the possibilities of all relationships.

I still struggle with friendships and allowing people to get close to me. My natural tendency is to never go below the surface with people because it is safer. My mentality for the longest time was, if you don’t get close, you can’t get hurt. But sadly, you never experience the great part of relationships because you want to avoid the bad. Sometimes, it comes hand in hand. 

RELATED: Life is Too Short for Fake Cheese and Fake Friends

A friendship that ends or changes based on the season of life we are in is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the end of a relationship may hurt for a while and we may not always understand the why behind its end, but we must trust that it served its purpose.

I think this quote sums it up pretty well:

‘‘There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need to change your life, or you’re the one that’ll change theirs.”

I am grateful for each friendship that has stepped into my life.

I know some of the darkest times were manageable because of the wonderful people that I had the honor of calling my friends. It has also made me strive to nurture relationships around me, though I still find myself shying away out of fear of loss. But I want to be a person I would want in my own life. Intentionality in my friendships has never been so important to me. Even when they end and I see a relationship growing apart, I want to be able to look back and say, “It was a good friendship and I am thankful that I had them in my life, if only for a season.”

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Sarah West

Sarah West is a homeschool mom, freelance writer and first-time author of Walking the Talk: A Parent's Guide to Intimacy and Healthy Relationships. Formerly, she served as the Director and Youth and College Counselor for Crisis Pregnancy Centers in Mississippi. Sarah writes for various online and print magazines on matters of faith and family, and believes in strengthening family relationships and reconnecting parents to their children. You can connect with Sarah and keep up to date with her writing through her blog at https://a-life-inspired.com/ Find her book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GM5ELRE

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