Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Can't We All Just Get Along?

One of my daughter's friends got engaged last week.
Elizabeth was so excited about the news she called me from camp while on her break to tell me.
Said it was all over Facebook.
So the next time I was on Facebook I went to her friend's page to get the details for myself. (Cuz she's a girl I love so much. And I wanted to congratulate her, too.) But when I got to her page I saw her posting about being sad because of some people's response to her news. Seems certain friends felt dissed because they found out about the engagement via social media, rather than a personal announcement - face-to-face, or at least over the phone. And they let her know how upset they were with her.
Mind you, this young lady has been in a residential treatment facility for the past I-don't-know-how-long for an eating disorder. She's hardly been able to flit around like a social butterfly. Rather, she's been struggling to get better, battling her sickness, and seeking healing. And somehow her friends feel like she should have contacted them personally to let them know of her engagement.

This friendship debacle reminded me of a situation I faced just a little over 15 years ago.
An instance in which I failed to meet someone's expectations with a certain announcement, and lost a friendship as a result.
I was a MOPS table leader and had just gone through a difficult time. At seven months pregnant I broke my left knee. That kinda altered the way I was able to do life! Fortunately, I had lot of great support - largely from the women at my MOPS table. The MOPS year ended and shortly after that, Matthew was born. Adjusting to life with an infant and a 4 and 2-year-old was challenging, to say the least. But after a couple of weeks I had enough time/energy to make a baby announcement. And I made sure to send it to all the ladies at my MOPS table - because I definitely wanted to let them know.
Annnnnnd, a week or so later I received a letter in the mail from one of those ladies. She was not satisfied with the impersonal baby announcement I'd sent. After the support she'd given me through my broken-leg days, she figured I would call or visit with the announcement. She went on for a while about how she believed I was de-valuing our friendship, and how let down she felt by receiving an announcement "just like everyone else."
That was probably right around the time I had a neighbor threatening to call CPS on me. (Joshua had made a habit of walking out the front door when I was busy with the baby, and she didn't think I could adequately manage my children.) So, between chasing kids and changing diapers I wrote a letter to K, apologizing profusely for hurting her feelings and asking for her forgiveness.
I never heard from her again.
I still think of K from time to time. And pray God will continue His pursuit of her heart. But I have yet to understand why a baby announcement sent through the mail was enough to end a friendship. And I often wonder, what would our relationship be like now - 15 years later - if we'd not fallen apart?

I share those stories to say this: If someone in your life (be it another mom, or somebody else) doesn't live up to your expectations, please give her grace. Maybe there is something going on in her life about which you have no knowledge. Maybe she can't do everything you wish she could do at the moment. Perhaps your expectations aren't as crucial as they seem.
Rather than lashing out, why not give her a call and share an encouraging word?
A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

Proverbs 25:11


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