Today, I sadly share the loss of a dear brother with you. I’m finding it quite difficult to let go, knowing that our friendship is now forever altered. We can never return to the way things were, and for that I am grieved. I will definitely miss his presence in my life- the comfort that his hugs were able to give, the strength his words awakened in my soul, and the time sacrificed that made me believe I mattered. But now I must continue living my life as is, though now void of these gifts. I know that he is in a better place where he feels more fulfilled. What about all the people left behind? How do we move past this?
Before I answer these questions, I must confess that at times I feel like this when a close brother begins a serious relationship and/or marriage. I’m not trying to offend anyone, but make a point that I don’t think many are aware of. As I’m getting older and older(yet remaining single/celibate), more and more friends are getting married or entering into serious romantic relationships. This always seems to leave a sting and ache in my heart, a sense of loss. Let’s face it, as much as someone in a new relationship tries, things won’t stay the same with their friends…ever. The truth is that a majority of your time, your thinking, your emotions, and your planning is going to be directed towards your significant other now. And even the times that you both do share with others, you two always seem to end up enraptured in your own exclusive enjoyable conversation. I know, because I’ve seen it and been that guy faking a smile or a busy preoccupation with his phone as I anticipate my freedom from this torture.
FACT: Romantic relationships are the places where the most time and energy is given.
Time = Value
So by simple reasoning, the way for an individual to feel valuable is to be in a relationship.
This can be a huge pill to swallow sometimes because I don’t have a way to make that happen without violating God’s law or will. If I was attracted to women, it would be a little easier to pursue. And since I know that pursuing a romantic relationship with a man is sin, I’m stuck. Stuck feeling a great lack of value and like no man is ever going to be willing to give me significant time.
Thankfully, as a Christian, I don’t have to be trapped by this worldly value system. My freedom can be found in a better, biblical standard. All throughout Scripture, God had very strong things to say about the role of the Church to care for orphans and widows. I believe partly we must notice that both these groups of people have been left alone by themselves.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting with friends around a table eating pepperoni pizza and salad…and chocolate chip cookies. Someone had the idea to take turns sharing our biggest fear. Most were external physical things like a fear of midgets or snakes, but my answer was to grow old alone apart from real meaningful friendships.
The Church is a family and this should be one of our highest priorities to uphold in love. The Church is an eternal long-lasting reality, where in comparison, marriage or any other human relationship is not. I think this is something to carefully consider. The Church may continue to lose many lonely people who are and aren’t attracted to the same-sex until we get this in greater balance. We need to be sure there isn’t any idolatry of romantic partnerships in our hearts. Are we taking care of those lonely and alone around us?
Before I forget, here’s some answers to the earlier question of how to move on…
- Accept the reality that things are now going to be different when your friend begins a relationship. There will be adjustments along the way, so expect change.
- Give yourself permission to feel the pain of the loss/change.
- Redirect the energy and time you would be spending with that friend to others. You might be surprised at what meaningful friendships come from it.
- Be thankful for the memories and time spent together.
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