Bonnie was a girlfriend from days long gone by (not her real name). Bonnie and I were incredibly close; our lives were so in sync. We were pregnant the same times, liked the same herb teas, and even went back to college as non-traditional students during the same season in our lives. We were connected at the hip. I would have a thought and she would express it. It was a wonderful friendship; closer than family.
Unfortunately, Bonnie and I also dealt with similar compulsions in our lives at the same time. I filed for divorce to start a new life. I soon began steeping in my dysfunction, not realizing the harm I was causing myself. And as a good (and compulsive) friend, Bonnie came right along. It didn’t take long for her to follow the path I had blazed and she, too, filed for divorce.
Again, she and I were inseparable. We even scheduled our children’s visitation evenings on the same nights so we could go out and enjoy ourselves; really paint the town red. Life was our oyster and there was no limit to what was before us. We were two attractive young women looking for attention and enjoying all that we received.
But, as scripture warns, we enjoyed the “pleasures of sin for a season”. Slowly our lives began to fall apart. Bonnie and I began spending time with people we never should have met, doing things we never should have done … going to places we never should have visited … leading us to make choices—different choices—we never should have made. In the middle of the wallowing in muck and mire that was due to these choices, Bonnie and I severed our friendship. We remained civil with each other, but too many secrets were shared between us. Secrets that once bonded our lives were now feared as potential weapons that could do great harm to the other if shared indiscriminately.
I moved from that area where Bonnie and I lived and as it always does, life moved on. Years later I found myself on my knees, asking God to take over my mismanaged life, and was thrilled that his grace was waiting for me. My walk with Christ daily fills me with wonder and awe of how he could love completely … watch me walk away … then forgive completely when I changed my course in life and wanted back under his protecting wing.
A few years ago had the opportunity to re-connect with some friends and family back home. I walked into a fast-food restaurant while visiting and saw a young man who I knew immediately had to be Bonnie’s son; his features reflected his mother’s so strikingly that I had to ask if Bonnie was his mother. Yes, he said, shyly … how did I know her?
I vaguely shared how she and I had spent some time together years ago. I gave him my cell phone number and asked him to have his mom call me. I was so excited about having the opportunity to chat with Bonnie. I had been spending lots of healing time in scripture and working The Steps. The thought of offering an amend to my friend thrilled my heart. I wanted so desperately to share my new life with her. We had always been like two peas from the same pod and I knew she would get it, too.
But her return call never came.
I thought that maybe Bonnie’s son misplaced my note, so I called her number … the same phone number from all those years earlier. I left a message—clearly the voice I recognized was Bonnie’s—asking her to give me a call because I had lots to share with her. But nothing. It then hit me …. she just wasn’t going to be returning my calls.
Those secrets from years ago … could they still be controlling her? Just because I found peace in truth didn’t necessarily mean that she found it, too. I had faced demons and shared all my ugly past with the people who mattered—my new husband as well as trusted friends—and experienced a peace that can only come from trusting a God bigger than me. I needed to realize that Bonnie had the right to not want to hear my amend; that she had the right not to accept the new and improved me. If she wanted to hang onto her memories of me … that was her right.
I am sad to think that a great friendship was destroyed by sin so many years ago, but it was. Was it my sin, her sin, our sin … who can say?
I have few regrets in my life. I have offered everything to God and it has been important that every part of my life be directed to glorify him. But if I had the chance to take anything back … if I could have a do-over … I would fix my relationship with Bonnie. I miss her and I can only hope that she has found peace in her own life as I have found in mine.
Seasons … they come and they go. I was reminded this morning that as one season closes another season begins. Driving to work today I needed to wear sun glasses for the first time in months, reminding me that the days are beginning to get longer. Another Winter season is coming to an end and a fresh Spring season is getting ready to begin.
Just as it should be.