A year ago my heart was broken. It was a type of brokenness I can’t even really explain. It was a day that I needed to be strong. And, I did feel strong. Corporate strong. Personally broken. I walked into a courtroom filled with people who were like family to me. But instead of embracing me, they didn’t even look my way. They were on the opposite side of the room. They saw me, they felt me there, but they were desperate for me to be invisible. Our family had been separated. We had laughed together, suffered, cried, rejoiced, lost, shared our lives together for many years. It was gone. Did I have to leave behind those memories? Did I have to think of them and only remember regret? I knew that I wouldn’t. I knew that I still loved all of these people…my family. I didn’t know what was going to come in the next hour and a half, but I knew it wouldn’t matter. I would walk out the way I walked in. I would still love them. I would not ever want to see them and wish they weren’t there…invisible. I would want them to be a part of my life, because they were a part of me, a part of my heart, a part of who I was.
When the questioning began, my heart began to crack. One small crack at a time. I could almost hear it. My boss was first. Someone who I had respected, admired. I wanted to be her, to take her place in the company. We had always been side by side…now we were face to face. She wouldn’t look at me. I was looking in her eyes, so desperate for an answer. How was this happening? Why? You know me. You know my heart. You know I am honest. No matter how much I begged for her to see me, I was still invisible to her.
One of my friends came up next. Bigger cracks this time. It felt like my air was slowly being taken out of my lungs. So much crying…but not from me. Guilt does strange things to people. Some people get angry, some blame others, some cry. My friend cried, and cried. I wanted to take away her hurt, but I had too much of my own. She couldn’t stop looking at me…right in my eyes. That was actually to her detriment. She could see my pain…my broken heart. I could see hers. How can you look at me and lie? I wanted her to answer. It has never come. Her pain was so deep that we had to stop so she could get herself together. I prayed that she would not return…that she would stand up for the truth. She did return. Still so many tears.
My final friend took the stand. She radiated anger. Her guilt…masked by hostility. I am again invisible. Her words are sharp and short. Confident untruths. We had just taken a trip together. Just learned to knit together. Went to church together. Now she has betrayed me. For what? Her job? Money? Choice? I will never understand. My heart has shattered. I pray for the truth to win out…it does.
I watch my friends…my former family walk out a side door. They don’t look back at me. I am happy, but still heartbroken. I didn’t know that was possible until that day.
I start to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart one by one. I make new friends…but I still remember the ones from the past. I pray for them everyday. I remember their words…the things they said about me that were untrue. But I am not angry about them or angry that they said them. I am sad that they felt like they needed to say them. I am sad they felt pressured to say them. I am sad they couldn’t stand up for our friendship and speak the truth.
I love my friends. I love how they mold and shape who I am. I love that when people talk about being my friend, they always talk about my loyalty. I am loyal…to a fault…good or bad. I will stand with you…good or bad. I will be honest with you…good or bad. I have learned that not everyone wants these traits in their friends. They want their friendships to always be easy. But that’s not what it is about. I want to experience the struggles that my friends go through…I want to walk with them…I want to hold them up if they need it. It seems more and more difficult to find true friends who love you for you…warts, fungus and all. That is what we all deserve. We deserve to be loved in spite of our flaws, or struggles, our pasts. We are taught to love to Christ. Sometimes it seems we need to be better students.