BFF. Best Friends Forever.
My girlfriend in high school and I were very close. Like most teenage girls we shared lunchtimes, classes, plus our hopes and dreams. Of course we also discussed boys, what kind of man we’d like to marry, and how many kids we’d have one day.
One memorable summer my girlfriend even invited me on a short vacation water skiing with her aunt and uncle. How cool was that?
Although after graduation we attended different colleges, we kept in touch, getting together for lunch, sharing our most precious moments.
On one of those occasions I asked how the aunt and uncle we’d vacationed with were doing. A dark cloud crossed her face. “We don’t talk to them anymore,” she informed me. “They’re out of the family.”
Stunned, I asked the reason why. My friend told me this aunt and uncle, before leaving on a trip, had asked Grandma to house sit. Later they remembered they had left some meat past the expiration date in the fridge. They phoned their home and told Grandma not to eat it.
And Grandma didn’t.
For this–the crime of forgetting–they were now renounced by all their relatives. And nothing they could do, my friend informed me, would ever make up for that. They were to be forever shunned.
Finished. Case closed. Door slammed shut and permanently locked.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Nobody purposely forgets something. “Don’t you believe in forgiveness?” I asked.
“Grandma could have died!” she snapped, as if that answered the question.
I remember wondering then if our relationship would stand up to such stringency.
Years later, I got married. Of course my friend was Maid of Honor. I wouldn’t have even considered anyone else. And since she was dating a guy she was sure would propose that Christmas, I would soon return the favor.
Christmas came. Christmas went. No proposal.
Then, near the end of January, I got pregnant.
All of a sudden my friend stopped returning my phone calls. I was puzzled by this, but we hadn’t had a fight or even a tiny disagreement. Maybe her answering machine was malfunctioning. I’d see her at the baby shower, right?
She didn’t even RSVP the invitation.
Repeated phone calls got me no further than her answering machine. I wanted to share my joy when my daughter was born but ended up having to just leave a message.
Shortly afterward I received a letter from her in which she berated me for being too stupid to realize she didn’t want to be friends anymore. She listed a litany of my faults, like not spending enough money on gifts for her and not spending enough time with her on the phone. Even worse, I didn’t come to visit her often enough.
And, she said, she had a niece she loved and did not want to use time she could spend with her on “someone else’s child.”
Oh. So that was the major problem. I guess she could take me being married as long as she thought she was getting married too. But when that didn’t happen, and, on top of it I got pregnant, it was too much.
I wrote back, telling her what a wonderful person I thought she was. I explained that I had spent more on her gifts than I had even on those for family members. I was confused about the complaint regarding the phone when she wouldn’t return my calls. And I pointed out that every time we had gotten together recently, I was the one who came to visit her. Despite numerous invitations, she hadn’t even seen any of the places I’d lived in the past six years.
I told her that because I cared about her, I would respect her wishes if she didn’t want me to contact her anymore but that if she wanted to contact me my door was always open.
I never heard from her again.
That was 25 years ago.
I still grieve for our friendship.
Is this what it’s like for God when someone He loves slams the door in His Face? When someone renounces his faith and therefore renounces Him? When all ties are cut and communication forever severed?
What kind of pain and agony must Christ be in when He, who suffered so terribly on the cross, is shunned?
I can only begin to imagine how much it hurts. I’m sure what I’ve experienced is but a shadow of what He endures.
In case you’re wondering, I haven’t given up on my friend. I pray for her on a regular basis. It is my sincere hope that, if we both make it to heaven, any animosity she has for me now will then seem like a triviality.
In heaven, after all, I am sure we truly can be Best Friends Forever.