The other day I was looking through old photographs as I organised them all into folders (obviously by year, month and day). It was bittersweet wading through all the memories. Some good, others wonderful and the odd sad moment. We capture our lives through photographs, a visual timeline of memories. Each and every photograph evoked a memory.
By the end, I felt satisfied that all the photos were organised but sad that I can never capture the same moments again. No two moments are the same. We grow, change and evolve over time. Photos are tangible proof of those changes. Of the people we were. The people we are right now.
Some of the people that I was posing with and smiling alongside are no longer in my life. We move on, some people move on with us, others we leave behind.
Their season has passed.
A friendship season
Each season has its own purpose, its own time to shine. Much like friendships. Some have a long season (my best friend and I have been friends for coming up 30 years), others are brief lasting just as long as they are needed. It is inevitable that some come to pass.
Just as the weather seasons last just long enough for Earth to change and grow, so do some friendships. Each season teaches us something, enables us to shine, grow or heal.
When a season comes to pass
It can feel like a relief when some seasons pass (winter anyone?!). They are/were negative influences in our life. They took more than they gave, they always rained on you. Those seasons you welcome seeing the back of.
But, letting go of someone who used to be your other half can feel like a break-up. Even worse than a break-up at times. We grieve for something we no longer have for that someone who used to know you inside out, who knew you better than you knew yourself, who you connected with on every level turns into a stranger. You no longer share your everyday lives or even any part of your life.
What can you do when you feel the loss so acutely?
- Remember the good times with fondness. Just because they are no longer a part of your life doesn’t mean they never were. Smile on those memories with affection. They came into your life for a reason. Treasure the memories.
- Don’t dwell. If that person is no longer in your life, they aren’t there for a reason. There is no point in dwelling on things. It doesn’t help situations and stops you from moving on.
- Bitterness isn’t a helpful emotion. Just as there is no point dwelling, there is little point in bitterness. It is a completely useless emotion that serves no purpose except to make you feel like crap. Life is too short to feel like crap.
- Move forward. There is now room in your life for another other half (does that even make sense?). While you can never replace that person, you can still form similar friendships with other people.
Life goes on though, it has to. We learn to live without them. We move on and usually someone else slips quietly into their place.
Seasons can sneak up quietly
Have you ever wondered when a new season suddenly begins?
We think, ‘it was summer two weeks ago, how the heck did winter sneak up??’ Then before long summer was a distant memory. It feels like it has always been there and we forget the warm rays.
Some friendship seasons are much the same. Some quietly work their way into your life and all of a sudden you can’t remember them coming in. These are the best kinds of friendships. They are natural and unforced. We can’t remember what it was like to not have them in your life.
People are resilient. We move on and we adapt. Life is constantly changing. Constantly moving forward. Constantly evolving.
Friendship seasons can teach us
Some seasons are much harder than others. Some feel never-ending, harsh and wild.
Even if we have a bad season, there is always something to take away.
My worst season
I am going to share a personal story. My worst season (more of a relationship than a friendship but the principals are the same) was a few years ago. I had low self-esteem and confidence so I settled for someone who was bad for me. But I thought that no one else would want to be with me so I put up with it.
It was a violent relationship. I was made to feel like shit, was used as a punching bag and came out with even less self-confidence and self-esteem. If I talked to anyone of the opposite sex I would be made to feel like I was doing something wrong, I was accused of wanting to sleep with them if I said more than a few sentences. When I tried to stand up for myself I was hit or pushed. He would sulk at me if I said the wrong thing so I was always walking on eggshells. My front door was broken when I was thrown into it. A hole was punched in my wall. My body went through a phase of having constantly healing bruises.
But, when I did end the relationship I knew I never wanted to be treated that way again. I learned that I could stand my ground if I needed to. I also learned that I would rather be on my own than in the wrong relationship.
The best friendship seasons
The best seasons shower us with laughter. They allow us to reach our potential, they shelter us from the darkness. Friendship seasons can feel like a long summer (if you like summer) if done right.
With memories to look back on and to look forward too.
So here’s to friendship seasons, whether good or bad. They make us who we are today. Without them, who knows where we would be
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