This morning, I just realized that I am missing one of my friends on Facebook. Whether that person is a he or a she is irrelevant, so I will use the pronouns interchangably. For the past several days, I have missed the commentary that I normally see, but because s/he travels a lot, I really didn't think much about it. S/he has given me a different perspective sometimes, and I have appreciated those insights. But we are very different people. Almost as opposite as two people can be...with the only common bonds being that we've lived in both Alabama and Georgia and that we were once classmates.
I think that sometimes those differences make it difficult to relate, but I had always believed myself tolerant. I do not always understand the motivations that other people have in the relationship, spiritual, or political realms, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I don't appreciate their wonderful qualities. Truth be told...I have very few things in common with some of the members of my own family. But I love them...and our shared history more than bridges any differences we have...at least in my heart.
Being raised in the South means that we take our relationships seriously. I am not saying that people in the North do not, but I cannot speak to that experience. I do know that my Northern cousins are far better at maintaining family ties than their Southern cousins have ever been, and I have a friend who I met through work who returned to the North who has kept in touch with me...and I treasure that.
So, my Southern sensibilities are telling me that I have apparently been "myself" to such an extent that my friend has chosen to sever the relationship because s/he does not feel me to be supportive. Sadly, I both understand and respect that. But, I will miss the friendship.
I know that we often take people in our lives for granted. We believe that we will tend to that relationship someday, and we get on our hamster wheels and run and run trying to provide for our families and pay our bills. And then something happens. A tearful telephone call comes, a loved one begins to suffer the devastating effects of dementia, or we receive the test results and hear the words..."I'm so sorry."
I hope that being who I am is worthy of tolerance. I have tried to live the past 25 years of my life seeking to understand and being slow to judge. I personally believe that all of us are in a constant state of growth, and that some of us just figure it out far later than others. So, we have to cut each other some slack, and try to focus on our common bonds instead of our differences...real or perceived.
I already miss my friend. I hope to reconnect at a later time, but even if we don't...I am glad for the insights that s/he gave me and wish only the best for her/him in the future. I also hope that if confronted with a similar decision...that I will remember that we are all works in progress...and act accordingly. You never know if it will be your words of wisdom one day that will make the difference in someone's life...or if the reverse will be true. So, keep those people who have entered your life for one reason or another in good standing if at all possible. Love what you can, and overlook what you must. Be yourself, and realize that people who are completely different from you may be in your life to give you a different perspective to smooth out some rough edges...or strengthen your resolve. Either way, the value is unmistakable.