Saturday, March 10, 2012


I have spent the majority of this week feeling heartsick. My days are interrupted every hour or so by a sudden pang of sorrow. My stomach drops and my chest constrict, and I swallow hard to keep back tears. Earlier this week, a very dear friend of mine shut me out of her life forever. Even now I can’t believe that she meant the things she said… Our friendship hasn’t always been perfect, but I always thought of her a sister. You fight with your sisters sure, but you laugh with them more. It doesn’t matter what paths your lives take, you will always be connected by that unbreakable childhood bond. I guess I was wrong.

I met her when I was 11 years old. We didn’t go to church before that because Dad couldn’t find one that was “Christian” enough. We met a pastor and his family at a home school convention and they invited us to their church. The first day there I was felt so awkward and alone, and then I met her, and we hit it off immediately. She was my first friend really, outside of family.

It wasn’t long before we started begging our parents to let us spend more time together. We wrote stories and made home movies, and played piano together, and mostly we talked, about everything from theology to mythology. We had sleepovers all the time and would stay up till 3am jabbering on and on.
She was the only person who noticed when I started cutting myself. I remember she cried, and begged me not to hurt myself.

 As we got older, I spent a hundred free weekends at her house. We took the dogs out on ridiculously long walks in the country. When I was dealing with depression, she was dealing with a panic disorder. I didn’t judge her and she didn’t judge me, we supported each other no matter what. We were sisters. More than once I fiercely defended her to people who dismissed her as “the holier-than-thou pastor’s daughter.” They didn’t know her like I did. She was sweet and sensitive and misunderstood.

She was third bride’s maid in my wedding, right after my two sisters. And when I lived 900 miles away, I drove all the way home to be there for her bachelorette party. I was the only one there who knew the right size to get. Of course I knew, we had borrowed each other’s pajamas a million times. A few days before her wedding we sat and talked about how fast this day had come. Wasn’t it just yesterday we were 12 years old; fishing with her grandpa and joking about our someday weddings? We walked to the park that night while comparing wedding rings. We talked about having babies, and I promised that my kids would call her “Auntie,” she said hers would do the same.

It wasn’t until I started to question my faith that I saw a change in our relationship. She became a bit distant, almost suspicious. We had periods where she wouldn’t even speak to me because she was offended by a link I’d posted on my Facebook. I wised up pretty quick and stopped posting links to things that didn’t accurately represent my thoughts. After one too many uncomfortable Facebook chats, I called her one day to sort it all out. We talked for a good hour and I explained how I just wasn’t sure of things anymore. “I still believe there is probably a God” I told her, “but I don’t really know for sure, I just need time to heal.”

When she told me she was pregnant, I was overjoyed. We went to dinner and she had twice as much food as I did. I remember smiling and thinking that someday I would tell the baby how mommy forgot her wallet and Aunt Sarah bought enough food to feed Mamma and Baby.

The last time we really talked was in January sometime, and then my life got really busy: school, tax season at work, marathon training, I kind of lost track of her. Last week I heard that she had finally publisher her first novel. I had read a dozen rough drafts of that book and I was VERY excited to see it in print. I bought it on my kindle, and half way through I decided to go write a quick note on her Facebook wall about it. And that’s when I noticed that she and her husband had un-friended me. Confused, I texted her to ask what was up, and the answer I received made me instantly sick to my stomach.

“You become like the people you hang out with. I don’t want to become bitter and anti-Christian like you”

There was more. Much more. She told me she couldn’t have me in her life anymore because I disrespect the things she believes in. Her husband texted me as well, ordering me to cease contact with his wife. What did I do? “I will still look back fondly on the memories of our friendship,” she said. Fond memories? Is that really all that’s left? I thought we were sisters. She could have converted to Hinduism and moved to India and I still would have loved and respected her. I would have gotten up in the middle of the night so I could call her in her time zone.

I am miserable, and I’m trying to find a way to blame myself. But what did I really do wrong? What could I do to make everything okay? Should I apologize for questioning the existence of God? Should I swallow the pain I feel when I walk into church? Do I have to pretend to be someone I’m not in order to keep the people I love in my life? The questions I ask myself are painful enough without the reproach I get for asking them.

She gave birth to a daughter this week; A little baby girl that I will never meet. She will never call me “Aunty” and I will never get to tell her stories of how adventurous and silly her mommy always was. My heart breaks a little more every day. How many more friends will I lose on this journey?

(Because this post received so much traffic, there are a few things I would like to clear up for my readers. I did not write this post out of spite, anger, or impulse. After a year of distant disapproval, my friend and her husband purposefully removed me from their lives. The words they used were clear, forceful, and very familiar. My relationship with my friend had been falling apart piece by piece for almost a year. Since the very first day I started struggling with my faith I noticed a distinct and negative change in our relationship. If there had been a way to salvage our relationship I WOULD HAVE DONE IT. But I was told in no uncertain terms that she was through with me. If I somehow misinterpreted all of this, I wish she would tell me. I have tried to reach out to her many times since this post was published. All I have received in return is anger, and some of the most hurtful language I have ever experienced. I wrote this post with a broken heart. I was certain my friend would never be contacting my again, much less reading my anonymous blog. I am emotionally exhausted from this entire experience, maybe I shouldn’t have tried so hard to get her back when she started shutting me out. Maybe if i had just let her drift away like she wanted, then all of this wouldn't hurt so bad.....)