Lately, I’ve been thinking about the lost friends — a few in my life, but an experience common in most of our lives: the friends who vanished without a trace, never explaining why they wouldn’t or couldn’t continue being a friend. These beings who resist closure — e.g. closure on my terms (which means talking about what in the world happened — confound everything about how my brain and heart work. My mind says, “Maybe it was…” and my heart says, “I miss my pal” when I stumble into such an experience.
Yet I also know this is material patched into most of our lives. People come. People leave. Life tilts, and shift happens. What we thought was one thing turns out to be something we can’t even know, and THAT is what jolts me.
I remember an old friend (who is still a dear friend) once being invited to dinner by one of her pals who, after making and serving her a luscious dinner and dessert, said, “I can’t be your friend anymore. It brings up too many issues for me.” At the time, my friend and I were horrified by the directness of this encounter, but since then, I’ve come to respect this approach because at least my friend knew what happened.
I think also of Pema Chodron, who writes about living with an open, soft, spacious heart. When things happen we don’t understand, we can breathe into them instead of running away. We can feel the little griefs and tender spinning heartbreaks, breathe out love and forgiveness for ourselves and whoever we lost, and let life move through us without pushing the river.
In the case of my lost friends (although lost long ago), this is what I am practicing, meaning I sure haven’t mastered not missing them, but in the stillness and quiet of this sadness, I can send light and love to them and to the part of me that struggles with not understanding.