I grew up persistent.
In my family, in my friendship group, at school, I’m the one who kept going. Moving. Forgiving. Holding on. The tapestry of people around me, I often felt like I was clinging on to the end of the threads. Who knew what would happen if I let go?
As I get older, I’ve learned there’s a grace to finishing. To the ending of something. To honouring an experience, a friendship, a habit, by giving it the dignity of a peaceful, happy end. Even fairytales conclude!
When I was younger I was so afraid of losing people. Growing up in our little nucleus, moving around around the country again and again and again, just the five of us, made us close, but also separate. Grandparents were distant, or distant (some through geography, some through actions and choices). Aunts and uncles just weren’t there. Friends were lovely, but when you’re little it’s hard to constantly be making and breaking friendships as miles stretched out between homes.
So as an adult, I carried this behaviour forward. Now for the most part, it’s a great skill. The skills I learned – of letter writing, birthday remembering, the importance of making time to BE THERE – are real, vital, important things, and are a big part of the reason I have such wonderful friends now. In three weeks I’ll be having my 14 favourite women in the world stand up with me as my bridesmaids, and despite the years and the miles, our friendships have lasted. Whether they live 2 miles away or 4,745 miles away; whether we’ve known each other 5 years or 29, I’m so glad we didn’t let our friendships finish. I thank God they continued.
However, there have been friendships I’ve had to let finish…and it took me quite a while to realise when, and why, and how. That pesky people-pleasing gene kicks in and I want to keep things going. But gradually, slowly, a little bit painfully, I’m learning to let go, to have things finish. Someone who tells you lies, or who talks about you behind your back, or who is judgey (and not helpful-judgey) about your life…it took me the best part of thirty years to learn that my life was better off without that. And that sometimes the very best start, is actually a finish.