A little over 10 years ago, I broke up with one of my best-friends. We had met each other as two adolescent girls in Girl Scouts, and had grown to be inseparable by our senior year of high school. We went off to separate universities but not even the miles between Georgia and Ohio could keep us apart. Each day, we rushed to our dorm rooms to call each other by phone and gush about all of the cute and the exciting things (a.k.a. guys) that were happening on our campuses. I was convinced that my beloved Chicken-Little (as I affectionately called her) would be my very best-friend until the end of time. So imagine the way my world collided when I yelled “this friendship is over and don’t ever call me again” into my small blue Nokia 5160 phone. I was probably more shocked than her when the words came rushing out of my mouth but I was furious, and I didn’t see how the pieces of our friendship could ever be mended.
You see, my best-friend had fallen head over heels for a guy (who was less than impressive in my eyes) and had completely abandoned our friendship. She had fallen into a pattern of repeatedly canceling our plans to be with him, and I began to feel slighted.
“Ugghhh…I can’t believe she’s doing this again…”
We had made plans to attend a Summer festival in Downtown Detroit for over a week because we hadn’t hung out in quite some time. Some of the hottest performers were slated to be at the festival and I was anxious to show off the outfit that I had spent hours searching for just a few hours earlier. I popped on some Wet & Wild lip gloss and headed to pick her-up. As I pulled into her driveway, I was so full of excitement because my older sister had let me borrow her Red Grand Prix for the night! Between the car and my outfit, I was sure the night would be one for the books!
She hopped into the car and we proceeded to cruise the highways of Metropolitan Detroit until we reached Downtown. Not even two minutes away from our exit, we were met with miles of congested, bumper-to-bumper traffic and it seemed we’d never reach our festival.
The Calm Before the Storm
Twenty minutes went by…forty minutes went by…nearly 60 minutes later, we finally neared the parking entrance of the festival when Chicken-Little looked down at her phone and said:
“awwwww…he’s off work early and he wants to see me. He says he has a surprise for me. I need to go back. Can you drop me off at his place and we’ll meet up later?”
“What?” I asked.
In her perkiest, lovesick voice she repeated “he wants to see me! Can you pleeeeassse take me over there?”
I was visibly upset but I downplayed it so, 45-minutes later we were sitting in traffic again as she waited for me to drop her off at his place.
When I returned to my parents’ home, I was furious. I was boiling–hot mad and a few weeks later in a moment of pinned-up frustration I yelled “this friendship is over and don’t ever call me again.” BOOM! Just like that, over a decade of friendship was gone down the drain.
Months later, the girl who my parents had grown to love as a daughter of their own was no longer present at our family barbecues or holiday parties; and though on the inside, I missed her just as much as they did, my pride and my scarred heart just wouldn’t admit it.
In the end, it would take two girls, ten years and one God to mend a tattered friendship and to teach one of those girls about love. That girl would become me, and that lesson would become one of the greatest lessons about love and relationships that I could ever imagine.
Today, as my best-friend reads this, she is probably astounded and surprised to read the great details that I still recall lol, but you know how us women are…we don’t ever forget a thing. However on the flip side of all of that crazy, teenaged-twenties drama is a friendship that has been handcrafted and restored by God.
Though it took years of ugly and often painful ups-and-downs for us to reach restoration, those years and lessons have become instrumental in my understanding about love and relationships. They have taught me how to become a better friend and have prepared me to become an amazing wife and mother someday! Today’s post is dedicated to my best-friend Lamonika Nicole! Thanks for letting me break-up with you all those years ago, and thank you for never leaving my side even when I was too proud and angry to stand by your side.
Today, I present 9 things she’s taught me about love & relationships:
- There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship because people are imperfect. It sounds like common sense but it took me years to understand this. The sooner we stop searching for perfection in others, the more we’ll be able to enjoy our relationships with them.
- Relationships are supposed to get messy every once in a while. I have a little saying that goes like this “it’s not real until you can be real.” Sometimes being real means expressing when you’re upset, hurt, sad or angry with your friend. Sure things might get a little ugly and uncomfortable during those discussions but they don’t stay that way forever. The same way your family gets upset and still loves you is the same way your friend or significant other will love you after a brief pow-wow!
- Relationships are truly hard work. Imagine the number of divorces that could be prevented if people didn’t give up when times got rough or inconvenient. The saying is true “anything worth having is worth fighting for.” When you understand the value of your relationship, you won’t mind fighting for it and putting in the hard work.
- A disagreement is not the end of the world. In the past, when I’ve avoided conflict and confrontations with friends in an effort to keep the peace, it’s only disrupted my peace and made me yell things like “this friendship is over…don’t ever call me again!” Disagreements don’t mean your relationship is doomed. It just means it’s a disagreement. Everything will be okay!
- Space and time apart are necessary to keep you together. If two people are constantly around each other, someone’s bound to go crazy! Sometimes, it’s hard to pull yourself away from something/someone you love deeply but if you allow yourself a few moments apart, you’ll notice that you tend to come back with fresh ideas, new perspectives and more excitement, as you all discuss all of the wonderful things you experienced while apart.
- PRIDE is the fastest RIDE to failure. One of my favorite bible verses says “pride comes before the fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Pride is a substitute for transparency and we do it to keep ourselves guarded. However, in the end we usually just end up guarding a place called “loneliness” and we end up alone. Don’t be that guy(girl). Get over yourself.
- Love never gives up! Love might get tired every once in a while but it does not give up (1 Corinthians 13:7). Do what you have to do to keep the flame going.
- God can make all things new. You can’t change anyone but if you give God a little time, He can make any heart fresh and anew (Revelation 21:5). Ten years ago, I didn’t see how my friendship with my best-friend could ever be mended but as we both pursued God, he transformed our hearts and restored our friendship.
- Every relationship goes through a rough season. I repeat, EVERY relationship goes through a rough season. Relationships are a lot like the seasons of our natural environment. As each season comes and goes, not even street lights and stop signs can avoid the effects of their changing environment, as light posts become rusty and metal poles begin to lean to the side. We too, are a lot like seasons because parts of our lives are constantly changing. If we constantly run away at the first sign of irritation, anger or discord, we’ll never experience the fullness of our friendship or relationship. Be committed to hanging in there during the rough seasons. You’ll be amazed at the fruit God will produce in you and your relationships.
The Thank You!
To my best-friend, Lamonika Nicole Jones, thank you for being a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Some parts of our friendship have literally traveled to hell and back but I thank God for redeeming it. His maturity in us as women, sisters and brides-to-be has made us better and stronger.
You are beautiful. You are brilliant. You are talented. You are my sister. You are my friend. You are my best-friend and I love you!
May God continue to move mysteriously through you while wowing you with His favor and love!
~Erika (Chicken Wing!)