Call it serendipity. Call it coincidence. Call it cosmic intervention. I think I’ll just call it a miracle.
Eight years ago, in the spring, I had a falling out with someone I had been close friends with for two decades. There were misunderstandings, hurt feelings, anger, and perceived betrayal on both sides. After a final exchange of emails and phone calls, communication ceased.
I missed this friendship so much. Over the years, the sharp pain became a dull ache, but never went away. Every spring I would think about what happened, and the hurt and grief would be stirred up again.
A few weeks ago, as we celebrated my son’s 25th birthday, he and I were reminiscing about his childhood. He was remembering some of the friends he played with and to my surprise, he mentioned my friend’s daughter, although they had only seen each other a couple of times when he was very young. Then, last week, out of the blue, I received two computer generated emails from my friend’s company. Odd, since I had never been on their email list before.
But these seemingly random occurrences got me thinking. I took a chance yesterday and sent an email. I said that I missed our friendship and that I was sorry for whatever mistakes I made that contributed to our estrangement. I did not ask for a response. I simply sent my best wishes.
I didn’t expect a response at all and certainly not a favorable one, so I was truly surprised to get an almost immediate reply, echoing my sadness over our lost friendship and wishing to reconnect. And so, this morning, we spent an hour on the phone, catching up on family news and describing our current lives. Neither of us brought up the issue that had split us apart. It didn’t seem important and we were enjoying each other’s voices and laughter too much.
I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know if we will stay in communication and if so, what that will be like. I don’t know if we will feel the need to go back over what happened and listen to each other’s heart. But I know I’m glad that I listened to that gentle inner nudge to reach out. I know that today’s conversation lightened my spirit and released the regret that I have carried all these years.
Without ever speaking the words, I forgave and I felt forgiven. It just happened. So amazing. So generous.
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. –Lewis B. Smedes
related posts: For Today, Newly Bright; Giving by Asking; Forgiveness, the Final Frontier
10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (and Staying There) is a program to help us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. Many of us sabotage our happiness by habits that we might not even be aware of. Identifying and changing these habits can build a reservoir of well-being to enhance our happy times and sustain us during challenging times.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Forgiveness Sometimes Just Happens
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How nice Galen Pearl! I think there are times like this in life when things happen, like little miracles and the best way to deal with them is to accept them with gratefulness.ReplyDelete
Have a lovely day!
Marie, So true. I am bowed in humble gratitude for this gift of reconciliation. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Greetings Captain Pearl!ReplyDelete
Ah forgiveness. I too had my falling out with good friends. Recently, a good friend of mine whom I had not spoken to for 2 years dropped me an sms. Being the wary person that I am, I divined that her intentions were pure and so I responded in kind. Later on, I mentioned the divination to find out the exact factors that led to our reconciliation. This honest exchange allowed us to forge a deeper bond of understanding. Obviously, I would go on to become her Vizier since she was dealing with some difficult situation.
It's good to catch up. I always talk about silly things with her and we have a good laugh. Since I influenced her to change her facebook picture to a more cheerful one, I also had to pick a cheerier and but still manly looking facebook picture.
I suppose when it comes to forgiveness, both parties have to be willing to meet each other halfway. Life is too short to hold back forgiveness, especially from friends who matter to you.
Thank you for sharing this lovely article!
Irving the Vizier
Irving, Captain Pearl--I love that! One year my students were interested in pirates. There are websites you can go to to get a pirate name. I went to one and got the pirate name Iron Bess Vane. I like Captain Pearl better! I will have to go check out your new manly FB picture. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Haha, I had Star Trek in mind, rather than pirates. The ships in Star Trek are much nicer. ;)Delete
Funny that my mind went right to pirates even though we have been corresponding about the captains of Star Trek!Delete
What a joyful story! Friendship is such a powerful thing isn't it? Sometimes reaching out is all it takes, even when we may not really know what we're doing at the time...but as they say, if it's meant to be it will be! What will be will be...as Doris Day so lovingly sang...so many years ago! My mother always sang that song to me growing up, and I in return have sang it to my children and their children! Have a wonderful weekend Galen!ReplyDelete
Karen, I remember that song. I'll have to go back and read the lyrics. What a wonderful family tradition. Our tradition song is Zippeedooda! Hope you have a great weekend, too. Thanks for your comment.Delete
This post brings tears to my eyes, because I can only imagine how delighted you were, first to get an email from your friend, and then to have a chance to catch up on the phone. It is a precious gift, forgiveness. Sometimes I guess it just takes time.ReplyDelete
Hope you're well, friend.
Chrissy, I'm still so delighted. I'm still trying to believe it really happened. Thanks for your comment.Delete
How wonderful that you received the email and chose to open communication again. I have a friend with whom I had a falling out and communication stopped. I am in a good place, but it's always a bit sad for awhile when friendships seem to get lost. I have a sense that it will all come around again in a better form, transcending all that was left behind. I look forward to that day. I'm so glad Your day arrived. It gives hope to all who have similar circumstances.ReplyDelete
Teresa, Maybe your day will come soon, too. For me, I really just wanted to reach out and say what I had to say regardless of the response or lack thereof. If I had not heard back, or if I was rebuffed, I still wanted to say what was in my heart. The fact that my friend responded in such a positive way was a huge bonus and gift. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I suppose time helps to erase the pain or whatever hurt we must have felt at that time. As we grow older (and wiser), those feelings that were once earth shattering at one time has now taken a back seat in our lives so it would be easier to forgive as time goes by.ReplyDelete
Inspiring, Time helps, that's for sure. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Hello! What a beautiful blog. I am so glad that our paths crossed. Your write so well and with such honesty. Can't wait to see what comes next! Just signed up for your RSS feed. Thank you!ReplyDelete
Amy, Thanks for stopping by and signing up. I really appreciate it!Delete
Your story touched me. What you experienced is a type of miracle.
I had a similar incident with a very dear friend. We never had words or a direct confrontation but I walked away from the relationship because it had become so toxic. Talk about not confronting your feelings...something I've certainly learned to do since then.
A few years, I had sold my house and was packing things up. The doorbell rang....it was my friend with 2 cups of coffee from Starbucks.
We sat and talked about what was happening in our lives. Nothing was mentioned about the hiatus in our relationship and what caused it.
I thanked her for coming over and told her that it took a lot of guts to do it. And it did!!
Because of her initiative and my willingness to be open to her offering, our relationship has bounced back.
There is genuine love and a tremendous amount of caring on both sides.
You and I are blessed to be able to experience forgiveness in such a powerful way. Fran
Fran, What a lovely story. And how honest and generous for you to acknowledge the courage it took for your friend to show up. We are blessed indeed. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Such a blessing. I am so thankful you listened to that still small voice and called your friend.ReplyDelete
Shanda, Yes, I'm glad I listened, too. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Beautiful story Galen!ReplyDelete
I think you are truly blessed to have learnt the art of forgiving others and making an effort to reach out and connect.
I totally agree with you that many things happen in our lives that often lead to misunderstandings, but that happens in every relationship. And often, without us realizing it, it's our ego that comes in the way and we aren't really able to get down to apologize or restart a broken connection.
I guess when we are younger and energetic, we really don't feel the need to carry on such friendship and often take drastic decisions. However, as we age we become mature and realize to rise above such petty things and give things a second chance.
I am sure once both of you get to discuss more of your lives, you would bring out the problem areas you both had and resolve those issues. It is much better to start afresh than to keep thinking about what may have been or what could have happened earlier, and live with the regret of not asking. Life is too short, so make the best of the moments we have left and reach out and connect - isn't it?
Thanks for sharing. :)
Harleena, I agree that the ego gets in the way, at least mine does! I get hurt and defensive. Then I want so much for the other person to see my perspective, that I lose the ability to reciprocate. Life is short, as you say, so I'm trying to not waste any more of it on grievances. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I experienced a similar loss just about a year ago that hurt deeply. Because of the circumstances I wasn't sure if we'd ever reconnect. But, like you, a few months later I started receiving random e-mails. They were just funny cartoons or bits of information from the web. After a few of these I responded with a non-committal statement of pleasure at some of the material and wished the person well.ReplyDelete
That opened the door to phone calls and in-person meetings and a clearing of the air. The friendship that appeared dead and buried has been resurrected even stronger than before.
Taking the first step toward reconciliation can work wonders.
Bob, I remember your writing about this friendship rift and reconciliation. I didn't remember that the reconnection began with random emails, however. Sometimes the distance and impersonal nature of cyber communication can offer a safe way to test the waters and begin to heal. Thanks for sharing this story.Delete
Isn't that nice Galen! Friendships are so special, I'm glad this is working out for you! I think it's cool that you don't talk about what happened, letting it be overshadowed by your joy at this reunion.ReplyDelete
Lori, I'm glad, too. I was so tempted to bring up the issue that caused the rift because I still have some unanswered questions about a third person who was involved and I want to know what happened. But I bit my tongue and let it go. I'm glad I did. Maybe those questions will be answered at some point in the future and maybe not, but that isn't as important as reaffirming that we care about our friendship and that we've missed each other. Thanks for commenting.Delete
KUDOS in setting yourself free from any regrets of the past.ReplyDelete
You moved on and there is no need to bring out the past for obviously it wasn't discussed so you both have moved on.
Great job my friend Galen,
Moving on is a good thing,
Nancy, Moving on with rather than without this friendship is even better. Thanks for commenting.Delete
Forgiveness puts everything right with the world. I always seem to. And I love it when I do. Thanks for your post Galen :-)ReplyDelete
Jean, It does feel like such a burden off my heart. Thanks for your comment.Delete
This is beautiful! I love it! I had a friend I lost. I want to reach out to her everyday but our last email i promised that I would gig ever space, so that she could initiate. I knew I would right away and she was the one asking. So I know that i cannot contact her. Feels sad.ReplyDelete
That is a tough situation. Maybe she will get back in touch someday. And if not, maybe down the road you could send her your good wishes without asking for a response. It is sad. Thank you for commenting.Delete
I love to forgive. I believe in building bridges, not tearing down. Great post!ReplyDelete
Me, too! Thanks for your comment.Delete
I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE hearing about these things! It is the coolest little acknowledgement of something much bigger going on. You put a thought out there, your son put a thought out there, and bam. Meant to be. Whatever happens, it seems you are at peace. I love that.ReplyDelete
sheila, I loooooove getting comments like this! And yes, I'm at peace with whatever happens now in this friendship. Thanks for your comment.Delete
That is a great story with a happy ending. I feel a little distant from someone in my family right now, and it does leave a dull ache in my heart. There is no anger, just a lack of communication. I'm sure it will clear up with time, but it does feel sad to not have this person in my life. I'm glad your situation worked. Sounds like a good friend.
Cathy, You are right. Not all these stories have happy endings. And this story isn't over, so who knows where it will go from here. For me, the peace came when I made the decision to reach out. I said what I had to say. The positive response was a welcome and delightful bonus. And yes, this person was a dear friend before, and hopefully will be again. Thanks for your comment.Delete
I'm so happy for you, Galen. I do hope that the friendship blossoms again ♥ReplyDelete
Corinne, I hope so, too! Thanks.Delete
I'm so thrilled for you...and so glad you reached out. Gave me chill bumps. That's one of the gifts Life surprises us with.ReplyDelete
Sandra, Yes, life does surprise us sometimes! I'm still basking in the wonderfulness of it. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Sweet, sweet post.ReplyDelete
Like cream blends into the coffee, there are times when forgiveness just melts into friendship renewed.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful image. Thank you.Delete
Absolutely love this post! How awesome! I'm so glad you listened to your nudge and followed through!ReplyDelete
I'm glad I listened, too. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Galen: I had a very similar thing happen to me. After a ten year gap, I made a phone call and was thrilled to learn the feelings were mutual. I have renewed and enjoyed a great friendship since. I learned a great deal from my friend. Hope you enjoy as much happiness with your friendship.ReplyDelete
JJ, Thanks for the good wishes.Delete
Galen, Please keep us informed as to how this friendship goes. One of my sons has a theory, that if you truly love another person (soul) you do not ever have a falling out with them. His reasoning is a long list that I won't go into but it is mostly to do with respect and you do not hurl hurtful words at them that would cause a break-up. I analyzed his theory for years. I had a departure from a female friend of 20 years and afterward, I realized there were differences between us and it had never been an easy friendship.ReplyDelete
Then there is Marilyn, a friend of over 50 years. We talk on the phone almost daily and we've never had a bad thought about the other even though we don't always agree BUT we always honor each other's opinion.
So I guess I am playing devil's advocate a little. Forgiveness is divine but it doesn't remove a basic cause of a situation.
Manzanita, You're right. I don't know what will happen with this friendship, and I didn't even know that my friend would respond in such a wonderful way. The point, for me, was simply to listen to my heart and reach out. Whatever happens will happen, but it won't change how glad I am that I reached out.Delete
A heartfelt post and I believe your friend will appreciate the email :)ReplyDelete
Forgiveness is a powerful, freeing thing isn't it? And sometimes such a hard thing to do. Good for you for listening to the Holy Spirit's urging and reaching out. Maybe it was just what your friend needed, she may be going through some things right now and needed your email more than you realize.ReplyDelete
Alecia, I had not thought about it from my friend's side. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Thank you for your lovely comments on my recent post about our Foster Daughter Nancy. She calls us Mom and Dad and we are her family. Next week on Tuesday she will post about an incident in her abusive childhood and enter it on my blog hop, "Tell Me a True Story." April is Prevent Child abuse month. You are welcome to share a true story also --ReplyDelete
Thanks for the invitation. I look forward to reading more on your blog.Delete