A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime

photo_hands-1They say that people come into your lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

It seems like it has been more “reason” and “season” than lifetime for the last little while. And it’s those I thought were lifetime that are really throwing me for a loop.

Relationships that I thought would always be there, but for whatever reason, seem to have run their course.

People who I thought had my back, but who really don’t.

Love that is conditional.

What does it say about them? What does it say about me? Why does it happen? Have I changed? Have they changed? Or is this just the natural flow of life and relationships, and I have trouble accepting that?

Lots of questions. Not many answers. And more questions.

What defines a relationship? What is the glue that makes it strong?

Is a shared past powerful enough to keep a relationship together? Or does it need ongoing maintenance and nurturing? Getting together with old friends is fun and nostalgic, but how many times can we recount the same stories over and over again? If the relationship is to continue to be meaningful and current, it feels like it needs more.

What about the ups and downs? The ups are easy. The downs, not so much—but how we navigate these speaks volumes about what you truly have together. The only way through the rough spots is when two people decide to work together—two people who care and are engaged, and who choose to do the dance of friendship together.

I have had, and continue to have many wonderful people in my life. Some I think will be brief, become meaningful. Some I think are forever, end up not being that.

And some of them crush me. The ones I think are rock solid that aren’t. How fragile they are, and how little it takes to break them. This is what surprises me the most.

The intense feeling of loss makes me feel untethered, as do all the emotions that come with it: anger, hurt, betrayal, sadness, abandonment, devastation, and despair. Why are they so hard to let them go? Is it because my expectations are too high? Or because I imagine them to be more than they actually are?

To me, relationships are ultimately about two people who, to varying degrees, care about and appreciate each other. Two people who somehow make the other one better, and are willing to put in the time and do the work to try to understand and help each other.

For most of my life I have fought to save relationships at all costs. But that’s changing. It takes two people to make a relationship work—we’re in it together or we’re not. And perhaps there are other changes taking place as well. My tolerance for bullshit is dropping. My idea of what it takes to maintain a good relationship is evolving. And maybe I am starting to realize, albeit begrudgingly, that some relationships have simply run their natural course.

There are very few I can count on to be truly forever. In the end, everyone is temporary and everything ends. There is an ebb and a flow, and the reality of life is that people come and go.

As hard as it is, I cannot allow myself to continue to be crushed them. It messes up my head and makes me sick. I know deep down that what I must learn to do is appreciate the “reason” or the “season” I have been given with them, think about what I may need to change moving forward, let them go, and wish them well. And carry in my heart the good they have brought to my life.

I need to stop resisting, trust that things are as they were meant to be, hope that the pain and anguish will fade, and that eventually I will feel some measure of peace.

I need to get out of my own way.

But it sure ain’t easy.

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6 thoughts on “A Reason, A Season, A Lifetime

  1. I enjoy reading your comments. I am 72 and spent most of my life teaching and as Administrator in two high schools. Four years ago, I was blindsided with an attack of congestive heart failure and kidney failure. My whole world came crashing down, but the grace of God, I have been able to create a new life of giving to others. I live in a retirement home where I try to bring joy to the others who live here. I use my organizational skills helping the nursing home raise the necessary funds to keep costs down. There’s so much that you write about that touches me personally! Thank you,
    Louis Welker

    • Thank you Louis. Whenever I do write, which is rarely these days, it always seems to involve some kind of struggle. But I suppose if it’s a struggle that others share or relate to, then maybe it can help–serving others in some way. Sounds like this is exactly what you’re doing as well.

  2. I’m usually one not to comment but I’m with you. I so get this. It’s easy to say “let go” but actually sitting through the rising and passing emotions consciously without running, escaping, attacking, blaming, or numbing is some of the hardest work I’ve ever done. I feel the abandonment, rejection, hurt, betrayal, regret, disappointment, and sadness as it rises within my body trying to find its way out. And when you finally open yourself up, you find there’s years of emotions that have been neatly tucked away dying to release themselves. I wonder how much is in there and if it will ever end. I applaud and respect your truthfulness and authenticity.

    • Very hard work indeed Tracy, work that I cannot claim to have completed by any stretch. Some of these people still cross my mind every day, and I wonder when the yuck will fade. Thanks for the very important reminder of the need to sit with it, and let the emotions work their way through you.

  3. Such beautifully honest writing, so courageous and real. Immediately it pulled my heart, touching the scars where I too have been betrayed. God bless you Jonathan. With this comment, just over nine months after posting, I’m wondering… hoping… that time has helped your heart to heal. We go on, don’t we? Wiser, and hopefully still brave enough to stay open. May your compassionate heart remain open, be at peace, and full of love. Your friend, Gina

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