Chasing The Dead
Life throws us all curve balls every now and then. What would life be without the trials and tribulations and hardships? Those things were made to shape us, to teach us and mold us. But our struggles aren’t only for us, but it is also for the people around us, in our circle, family, friends and even strangers. When you go through something in the public eye that’s humiliating, it’s not only for you, but also for the ones that surround you. God doesn’t only want to see what you’ll do in a storm, but He’s looking at the reaction of the ones watching you drown. Some will throw you a life jacket, others will watch and wish they could do something to help you. There are some who will laugh at your struggle, and lots who will just gossip about how you got in the water in the first place. Which one are you? What types of passengers are on your boat?
I can recall many times where I battled so much in my life, way more than I thought I could bear. And to my surprise, one of my passengers jumped off my boat and got in the water with me. But he didn’t come to save me; instead he jumped in to teach me how to swim. Didn’t let me drown but never allowed me to depend on him to float, let me swallow water but never let me sink. While others threw me life jackets, he popped each one and said, “You don’t need that”. He stayed in the water with me until I learned how to float and swim on my own. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do but not only did I fight for my life, I had someone else help me fight and teach me how to swim. He never made it easy but did it all in love. After that experience, I realized 2 things. 1. Life was never meant to be done alone and 2. My boat was too big. I had all these passengers aboard but only one jumped in the water while I was drowning. I made a conscious decision to row my boat to shore, get rid of most my passengers and purchased me a smaller boat.
It seems like the older I get the more some of the “friends I thought I had, become more distant (especially as of lately). Growing up I had such a hard time keeping friends. They came; they left, betrayed me, gossiped about me, stabbed me in the back and even slept with my boyfriends. (That’s for another blog post) Crazy thing is I always forgave them and let them right back in. Yet, these people kept hurting me and it was clear that my life was something they wanted no part in. But as foolish as it may seem, the more they showed that they weren’t for me, the tighter I held on. I’ve always been a fool for friends. I liked being accepted and I loved having people around me so much that I allowed some of them to treat me how they wanted. My mom use to tell me “You don’t need friends Melissa, you have your family”. Coming up, mommy only had 2 friends she always hung out with, Brenda and Sharon. Other than that, my mom’s sisters were her best friends. They did everything together! Shopped, cooked, laughed, cried, and loved one another. But I wanted friends, a lot of them and so I did what I had to do to be accepted. That trait followed me into my adulthood and I can honestly say that I had to learn the hard way that “Not everyone that walks into your life is here to stay” Or wants to stay for that much.
Lately, it has been such a struggle to differentiate who is for me and who isn’t. I thought to myself the other day, “Mel, whose apart of your circle? Who’s on your boat? Do you even have one?” I came up so empty. No one came to mind. Deng, you have no friends! I thought. Childhood friends stopped talking to me, some made up crazy rumors, some started treating me different as though they were annoyed with my presence, even had to find out through social media that some of our friendships were over when I realized they blocked me. First thing that came to my mind was “God what did I do?” The next question was “God why does everyone keep leaving me”?” For a month I cried because I felt a lone. I started to come up with plans to get my friends back. Here I go again trying to get people to stay in my life that wanted out. Why was I so clingy? What was it that made me this way? Well, one day while I was venting to someone, they told me straight up “Melissa you have to learn to just let people go”. And as simple as that sounded, it crushed me so bad! Instantly I began to cry and the two words that came out next plays back in my mind over and over, “It hurts”.
You see, not only am I the girl that finds it hard to let go of the guys who hurt me, but I’m also the girl that struggles to let anything go that walks in the door of my life. I thought once they were here, they were here to stay for good and that mentality is where a lot of my hurt stemmed up. I’ve had so many conversations with both women and men my age where they regret holding on to something or someone that continuously put their heart in danger. Why does it feel so good to hold on to things that are bad for us? Its simple, the temporary high they put us in surpasses the damage that they cause. It’s kind of like an addiction and now I can look back and say I was an addict, addicted to friends. In the last 2 months, I’ve lost a couple of people who I placed under the category of “lifetime” that God placed under “seasonal”. I called, I text, I reached out and no answer. I prayed and still nothing. As hard as it was, I made up in my mind that I had to let go. Why hold on to something that’s fighting to get away. You don’t want to be my friend? That’s fine. You blocked me from your social media, that’s cool too. Want to act like I never existed, yea I can deal with that. Want to start treating me like I’m a burden in your life, okay I’ll back off. But hear me loud and clear, I AM NO LONGER CHASING THOSE WHO ARE RUNNING FROM ME. You want to leave? Here, let me get the door for you. We shouldn’t allow people to take our kindness for weakness so once they leave, close that door and lock it. We’re adults, and if we cant handle situations as such, our friendship was never genuine to begin with. Yea, I still cry sometimes because I miss them and it sucks that I mean nothing to people that meant everything to me but one thing is for sure, those who are meant to be in my life have never left. They made my pain their pain and my happiness their happiness.
Here’s a little homework for you that I had to do myself. Write down 10 characteristics that you’re looking for in a friend and go and work on becoming that person.
“When God starts taking you up, you have to be very selective about who you take with you. People who try to take a lot of people up always fall down. The circle has to get smaller to get higher” -T.D Jakes