Thursday, July 21, 2011

Porcupines


How can one of the sweetest things in your life all of a sudden turn so sour?



We used to be so good together.  We used to have so much fun.  We would plan girl trips and would spend hours and hours talking and laughing into the wee hours of the morning.  We made hilarious, ridiculous music videos together that would be too embarrassing to share but way too crazy funny to delete.  On one Halloween we dressed up as old ladies, wearing moo moos, stockings, wigs, and curlers while talking in Southern accents all night.  We would laugh so hard together, so hard that my head would click audibly.  “What is that sound?” Anita asked me as our roaring laughter began to subside.  “Oh my gosh, can you hear that?” I asked, shocked.  I thought the sound was only heard on the inside of my head.  And then we began laughing once again, and I began clicking.  Click.  Click.  Click.

What happened to us?

Someone whom you would do anything for becomes the last person on earth you would do something for.

It happens all of the time, if you think about it.  Another marriage down.  Another friendship has come to its end.

Why?

Can’t say for sure.  I am no expert.

“People are like porcupines,” my mom always said. “They need to learn to bend their quills so they can become close without poking one other.”

Well, we were poking each other all right.  Right to the emotional death of our friendship.

It’s kind of sad to think, really, how many relationships are lost.

Expectations not met, lack of forgiveness, selfishness, pride, lack of grace, immaturity, ect. ect.

I will love you until….

Until you do this.

Until you do that.

Until I just don’t anymore.

And then it’s time to say goodbye.



“No more, God.  I have had enough,” I cried out to God in exasperation.  “Move one of us on.”

No, was his answer.

“But God, what good can come out of this?  We bring out the worst in each other.  Reconsider?” I continued my plea.

No, was his answer.

“Then what will you do with us?  With her?  With me?”

We both wanted out.  We wanted to move on to find a friend who was less drama. 

Drama. 

Women hate it, yet it is with us wherever we go.  Drama is like an unsightly wart on your finger.  You burn it off, you cut it off, you nibble it off when no one's looking.  Hopefully it's in a spot that your teeth can reach or then you have your husband get involved.  And just when you think it’s gone for good, Pop! there she is again, smoking a cigarette with a couple of wart babies next to her.  So you learn to accept the wart, befriend the wart, and respect the wart.  You tiptoe around it as best as you can so as to be careful not to arouse her.  But you know she is coming.  And oh, she is coming, like a crazed witch flying through the air on her broomstick with yellow teeth outlined by black coffee grits.  Drama is coming for you.   

Anita ended up marrying Lou, my husband’s best friend of 12 years, and so we saw no end to this taxing, dramatic relationship of ours.  Our ties would remain forced upon us.  But God had a plan for our friendship.  

Over the next few years, He would use this relationship between two selfish, self-centered girls to teach us what it meant to bend our sharp, rigid quills.   He would use us in each other’s lives to refine us, purify us, and change us into people different than who we once were.  He didn’t allow us to quit as so many people end up choosing to do.  

"So we are stuck together," Anita said as she walked into my classroom during lunch break.  "Yeah, I know," I responded while taking a deep breath.  

"We might as well make this work," she said.

We would have to figure it out, this communication thing.  I would have to stop provoking her.  She would have to stop screaming and yelling at me.  I would have to stop saying to her, "Get out of my face.  I will talk to you when you calm down."  She would have to learn to talk with her "inside voice".  And I would need to stop pushing my hand up to her face to make her disappear.

It wasn't working anyway.


Could God put certain people in our lives just to grow us?  Absolutely. 

There came a day when I became thankful for this relationship with Anita, when I realized that God had used her in my life to become a better friend, a better person, a better wife, and a better mom.

Through all of those conflicts we had, He taught two young women so much about themselves, about each other, about life, and about what selflessness really is.  During the upcoming years we would experience tons of tears, discussions, and eventually tons of laughter again.  Our friendship, in the end, was restored.

But it wasn’t the same friendship;

it was stronger,

deeper,

and a lot less selfish. 

Anita was not just a friend anymore, she was a friend who had become closer than any sister I could have ever had.  I always wanted a sister, always yearned and wished for one.  When God doesn’t give you something, it’s because He has something better in mind. 

And He did.

Sad to think,
I almost let it go. 



5 comments:

  1. Beautiful story on your friendship!! I really enjoy reading your blogs.

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  2. What a sweet story! It is so crazy sometimes what happens to our friendships. It always seems to happen without a clear explanation of why. I'm glad it worked out in the end for you! Cute picture of the two of you... XoXo

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  3. Awwww, the part that resonated with me is the part about wanting a sister, and how God provided someone sisterly for you. I always wanted a sister too, and as an adult have grown close to my first cousin. So she is like my sister, but we say its easier than sisterhood since we don't have childhood drama holding us down and we can compare parents without alliances. I had hoped my daughter would get a sister, but so far she has only brothers. I told her God will give her someone like a sister someday, even if she never has a biological sister.

    I was truly giggling at the thought of that click!

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  4. And I almost let it go, too. How foolish we were! =) I definitely wouldn't be the same that I am today if it weren't for the way God used our friendship to strengthen, grow, and stretch me beyond what I could imagine.
    And a big Amen to the whole drama/wart analogy! Oh, how you wish it would just go away, but I have realized that because we live in a fallen world - we must deal with the drama and the warts in our life. But, in the case of both of these, when you get really good at remedying the situation - it becomes a little less daunting to take care of it. =)
    Thank you, friend, for being all that you have been to me and for loving me despite my flaws and weaknesses. Love ya!

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  5. So so true...have had this with a couple of good friends who have eventually married into my family, so they are STUCK..and we are (now) much much closer than ever before! I like the porcupine analogy, in fact at my wedding, my aunt read out that actual story about the 2 porcupines and their quills, and how they had to learn to bend etc... (I can't remember who wrote it, but at the time I remember thinking "thats weird" but boy is it so true!).
    Thank heavens God knows what's best for us huh? Man oh man, I'd hate to think where I would be if it were up to me to decide who to keep in my life and who to let go etc.!!
    xx

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