We were like sisters, made sweeter by the fact that neither of us had grown up with one. It’s been four years since an argument ended our friendship, and I still think about her every day. I am reminded by the little things: using her guacamole recipe, hearing the name of the school her kids attend, noting that her email address is still in my Contacts list; as well as by the big things: praying daily for her daughter—my goddaughter, returning to places where our families had vacationed together, and the awkward, guarded greetings we exchange as we unavoidably cross paths at our parish.
She tried a few times to reach out: a poinsettia on our porch at Christmas, a gift for our new baby, and hand-me-downs for our son. I reached out a few times too: two new baby gifts and one trip to her house just to deliver diapers. But no lasting connection has been reestablished.
Perhaps the most tragic aspect of our falling out is that our husbands, who tried to keep their close friendship together for almost an additional year, eventually succumbed to the same fate – their friendship unable to carry the weight of the mutual hurt suffered by their wives. Our then eight-year-old daughters each lost her best friend, and it saddened me greatly to realize that my then five-year-old daughter had never known life without this proxy-mom in it.
As I’ve tried to work through forgiving her on the one hand and acknowledging my own guilt on the other, lesson one is that competition, which had crept into the very heart of our relationship, can be the most deadly form of pride. Competition has started many a war: competition over resources, competition over land, competition over whose God is most powerful. In fact, competition and pride were at the root of Satan’s uprising.
Since the end of our friendship, I’ve seen other pairs of close women friends become estranged over time— women of great faith, women who seem to have so much in common, women who know that the Body of Christ should be unified. As I’ve looked at these other broken friendships objectively since I usually know both women, lesson two is that breaking our friendships apart can only come from the evil one. The enemy is fracturing what would otherwise be powerhouse friendships, relationships that were blossoming on both sides as we experienced God’s love through each other on the path to holiness.
I was hardened for a long time, but I now regret what happened between us. I’d love to hear from other women who’ve experienced the upending of a close friendship. Were you able to repair it and move forward together? How have you personally healed if not? Did competition play a role? If so, over what?
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