Last week, my family and I took a vacation to a nearby beach town. This trip was difficult for me because it was the first time I had returned since a Spring Break trek in college to the same town. That trip had been with a group of close friends, the majority of whom I no longer consider close.
I have struggled with this reality for several years now, and it still hurts. One of the friendships ended rather badly in a massive misunderstanding, and my belief (whether true or not is uncertain) is that it bled over and poisoned the rest of my friendships as well. Things were never the same after the first relationship imploded. Regardless of how it happened, the reality is that I still see the same group of friends posting pictures of doing fun things together…without me. It stings a little.
So it stood to reason that this trip would shake loose some emotional baggage. And it did. I took a walk on the beach one particular night to discuss it with my Father.
Do I keep pursuing? Or do I allow this chapter of my life to close?
Despite feeling like those friendships were long gone and nigh impossible to rekindle from far away, I was still holding on to them. As though the things my former friends seemed to believe about me would be true if I never had the chance to befriend them again and show them wrong. Even though I knew in my heart that I needed to close that chapter of my life, I couldn’t bring myself to believe it. So I struggled as I walked, wishing that things could have been different.
I had prayed earlier in the day that the Father would speak clearly to me, as clearly as he did when he rewrote my name. So I walked and listened.
Stop. Look down.
In a moment, I understood. Putting his guidance into words is difficult, as he speaks on a heart level first. I think this is what the Word mentions when it describes the Spirit interceding for us with “groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). But in that moment, I saw the marks of the waves on the shore and I knew.
Do you see the marks of the waves? Some friends I bring into your life for a season, to accomplish the work in your heart that I have for them. When that work is finished, their time in your life is complete, and like the receding tide, the relationship comes to a close.
I knew he was right; I had known it all along. To hear him speak so clearly was comforting, despite it not being what I wanted to hear. Yet I grieved. The loss of my friends had never truly healed…just scabbed over, with infection inside. Coming to this town had opened it up so I could see the wound again. My Father’s words, though painful, were cleansing. I wept a little as I continued down the beach, looking at the wave marks and remembering my old friends and how each had impacted my heart.
Forgive me, Father…I am a foolish child. I wish it could always be high tide, and the waves would never have to recede.
I had scarcely uttered the words when his answer came, so loving and warm that it brought fresh tears of gratitude.
One day it will be.
Are you holding onto something you should let go? A relationship, a dream, a hope against hope? Trust your Father and let it go. He knows what is best for us, and has planned far more than we could ever hope or imagine. He loves us too much to let us have what we want when that thing is not our best. We just have to trust, and recognize that a day is coming when there will be no more pain.