It is June, and for a woman in her late twenties this means wedding season has officially begun. Again. This June falls in the middle of a year brimming with pairing offs, weddings, and babies; to the extent that my facebook feed typically includes at least one engagement and one pregnancy announcement per week. But this is to be expected.
It is my experience that life does not necessarily stabilize with age. But one uses certain anchors to keep from losing the way. For me community, comprised of my dearest friends and family, is the anchor I have relied on most since my career’s weight (read, demands) threatened to sink my boat – thankfully, just as my ship was about to go under, I cut myself loose of that deadly weight and watched it sink into the darkness beneath threatening waves. Friends’ marriages and expanding families significantly alter my community anchor’s shape, weight and ability to perform its designated task.
I celebrate my dearest friends’ joy as they pursue their lives and loves. I must, however, admit that I am weary of losing friends. The loss is never intended, it is simply the bittersweet reality of changing lives and priorities. I am tired of my female friends’ post-nuptial one-year disappearing acts, and of the inevitable cessation of all meaningful connection with my male friends.
At least with my girl friends there is hope they will resurface at some point. But when it comes to guy friends and marriage everything changes. The intimacies (which were neither romantic nor sexual) that once girded the male-female friendship are sullied and deemed inappropriate for some reason, leaving an empty shell that once housed a robust friendship. A shell that sits like a dust-covered souvenir collected from a distant shore visited during, what feels like, another lifetime. With decreasing occurrence, the shell is dusted off by quick catch-ups at a mutual friend’s wedding or other social gathering, during which the shell appears to looks the same, but the function, which is everything, has changed. Only the calls of the distant shores remain in the calcified structure, accessible only to those willing to pick up the shell and listen.
It is as a dear friend (married and then in the finals days of her pregnancy) told me, “The only male-female friendships that do not change with marriage are those with your male family members.” Thank you, Lord, for my incredible brothers!
As I flip through my planner littered with “Save the Date” postcards, I look forward to celebrating the unions of hearts and lives. And as I make my travel plans I prepare for the loss of these friendships, or at least the loss of these relationships as I now know them.
I am beginning to realize this sense of loss, of drifting resulting from the morphing of my community neither dictates nor reflects the true state of my life and faith. I am finally at a point where I accept (without demands for change) the limitations and fallibility of this anchor, of community, and am trusting my ballast will not fail as I sail into unknown, open waters with little more than a compass and certainty that an unseen land, “home,” lies ahead.