He was a good friend who subtly asked out a girlfriend of mine. What was more surprising than his asking was my reaction.
I immediately felt jealous and wanted to stand between them like a referee breaking up a fight, only they weren’t fighting, they were flirting. He and I had become very good friends over the years – we shared our secrets, laughed at silly jokes, and even cried over hurts – well, okay, I cried and he comforted.
The point is he became a friend I could count on, someone steady in my life and I didn’t want that to go away.
Later, when I saw him alone, I wanted to lecture him on how inappropriate this was and on how she was too young for him, for gosh sakes!
I wanted to give her a list of things she’d surely find annoying (exaggerating, to make his vices sound worse than they were).
But if I had done either of these, I would have missed the point. Instead, I went home and cried, afraid I’d lose him as a companion and confidante.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to date, it was that I was afraid he’d leave.
And here’s the thing about people who leave- they were never meant to stay.
As Bishop T.D. Jakes said in his piece, “Let Them Go!”,
There are people who can walk away from you.
And hear me when I tell you this.
When people can walk away from you, let them.
I don’t want you to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, coming to see you, staying attached to you.
I mean, hang up the phone.
When people can walk away from you , let them.
Your destiny is never tied to someone who left.
So though I love my friend, if he were to leave (not knowing, of course, if he really would), I would miss him terribly. AND, I would live through it.
If I can accept that, I can keep my heart open and love him rather than manipulate him.
And though it feels vulnerable, it also fills me with love and appreciation instead of fear–
and really, isn’t that the point of relationships?