Musings From A Musical Mind

It is easy to be self-sacrificing in friendship when it is reciprocated

We’ve all been there. We have friendships that either ‘work’ or they don’t. People that come and go in our lives – and things we can’t understand. And like Bob Cratchit says in “A Muppet Christmas Carol” – ‘Life is full of meetings and partings’ – so true – but it is still hard to reconcile ourselves to that point sometimes.  I like the ‘meetings’ – but I’m NOT crazy about the ‘partings’.

Friendship in its most basic form is this:

Two hearts that are connected by a common unseen element – where love and respect is shared. Secrets are safe and trust is earned and kept. You know you will not be betrayed because they understand you – and you understand them. And you encourage each other – cheer each others accomplishments and hurt when they hurt.

My good friend Deanna said it best the other day – ‘a friend has no hidden agenda – a friend listens and loves’.

When you have a trusted friend – you don’t even mind carrying stress and burdens from them – especially when you know that they are doing the same for you. You know who the ‘real’ ones are. The ones who stick around – don’t get squeamish at the first signs of ‘trouble’ or ‘drama’. They are the ones who are able to ride it out – and they stay. Offering words of comfort and life – just the very thing we need at the time. They don’t do it for them – they do it for you.  They don’t judge or lecture – they just simply love.

But what happens when friends don’t understand? They seem to be judging – or they do and say something weird? For no reason?   Oh you know what I mean – something great happens to you – and they don’t cheer you on – but decide to go ‘silent’ on you.   Even when you always seem to be ‘cheering’ them on!   What happens when you don’t feel that things are ‘reciprocated‘? What then? When you’re worn out trying to figure out why trust was broken – and misunderstandings take place?  What happens when it isn’t possible to simply ‘talk it out’? When things are complicated and there is no trust or understanding any more? What then? And what happens when they disappear for no reason – at least not one that you can understand? And no explanation is offered? Someone who you just knew would be a friend forever. What do you do?  How do you react?

I don’t know about you – but I choose my friendships carefully. I have been known to give my trust away to wrong people and it has made me careful. But I am also aware that I have a memory like an elephant. Sometimes it’s a curse and not a blessing – and can easily make me ‘self protect’ rather than giving people a chance.

Jesus tells us that we need to love others as ourselves. We need to ‘turn the other cheek’ and to forgive many times – even if we don’t want to. Even if we don’t understand. Even when it is NOT reciprocated. Especially then. He instructs us to do this – not for them – but for us. There is healing in forgiveness – and a release that happens in our own heart – when we simply do this.

It is interesting to note – that in these times of rejection and hurt – in the silent treatment from a friend – or someone I thought was my friend – the powerful words of Jesus come back to me – and I come to realize that sometimes my love is a selfish kind of love.

A kind of love that says, “I will give – if you give back – I will show compassion – if you treat me right – I will cheer you on – only if you cheer me on – I will love you – when you earn my love.”

It is sobering. It is sad. And – it is true. For all of us. At the base of each of us – is an ugly selfish sinner – capable of terrible thoughts – wrong motives and hurtful agendas. We are hopelessly ‘prone to wander’. Our only hope is the love and grace of Jesus – given freely to all who will ask. On our own we mess it up pretty badly. Jesus knew we would. That’s why He came. To save us from ourselves. To clean us up and set us on the right path – even after we ‘blow it’ – even after things seem so hopelessly lost. Even when there is nothing else that we can do. It is then that He steps in and turns even the most hopeless situation – around. He does the work in our own hearts. He gets to the root of the problem. The problem is not everyone else – It starts with me.  OUCH!!

As I write this I am aware that I am struggling with my own ‘issues’ in my life – some that are resolved and some unfortunately – that are not and may never be. Some within my power to fix and others – out of my hands. It isn’t up to me. So I – hope and pray. And I work on me. Maybe some day – I will get it right.  With God’s help – I’m sure going to try – but I’m going to make mistakes – I’m going to get my feelings hurt – I’m going to self-protect and I’m going to accuse – because it feels better to blame – than to point the finger at myself.

I believe I need to have an attitude of true humility when reaching out to my friends – the ones I have in My life now and cherish – and my new friends that I haven’t even met yet. I need to expect that there are going to be times when I will not understand what is going on – and I’m going to try very hard to look into my own heart for hidden motives and agenda – instead of blaming others.  And when I do reach out to others I need to let my attitude toward them be an attitude of giving – without expecting anything in return. To love them unconditionally – just as Christ has loved me – no matter what. And if Christ can accept me – with all my flaws and imperfections – then I can also be free to love you – with no fear of rejection – and with no guarantee that your love will be reciprocated.

I also want to say – that although I love everyone – there are only certain ones that will be close friends – those that I will let into my confidences and my world.  And those that will do the same.  And those I will not.   And those  ‘others’ – either through something that has happened – or something unhealthy that I sense –  it is not wise to continue to heap on myself ’emotional’ abuse from them.  Those  that I thought at one time were my friends.  Sometimes I have to assigned them ‘an outer orbit’  – while continuing to love them as Jesus would.  And sometimes – I have to be okay with that – hard as it is.  And leave it there.

I want to appreciate life’s blessings – EVERY DAY – and the wonderful people who are in it. I want to know that I can be a giver – even when it is not returned to me. And when it is – I know I have found another good friend and ‘gift’ from God.  It’s like God smiling and whispering, ‘you’re finally getting it – now treat them right!’

And I’m happy to report that after living this long – I’m finally getting it – and I have many wonderful friends in my life who have all played such an important role on my continued journey.  Strong men and women who I am in daily communication with – who inspire me, lift me up and reciprocate friendship and love – in the most basic form.  I am blessed.  And I pray that you too – would be equally as blessed with a love that is reciprocated.

God Bless

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Comments on: "When Love Is Not Reciprocated" (17)

  1. Reblogged this on Journey to destiny#God's girl and commented:
    When love is not Reciprocated

  2. This post is very true and you described my ‘fair weather friends’ perfectly. 🙂 The challenge for me is figuring out who wants to be fair weather and who is willing to ride the thunder with me. Figuring out that really helps!

    • I can’t believe it’s been about 2 years since I wrote this – I had a lot of weird experiences with people that led me to write this. I guess it’s true what they say – No pain – NO GAIN! My pain was definitely a gain when it came to choosing people who were safe. I’m glad you’re figuring it out too 🙂

  3. Neat blog. I got here from a simple search on facebook. I feel God has given me affection for a woman of God and she says she regrets she cannot return it… this does hurt…. but in prayer our Lord told me He wanted me to pray I could love her…. which perplexed me and then I realized that “self” was getting in the way…. so who knows maybe if I can learn to unselfishly love this woman of my dreams, God might give her an affection for me…. but I need patience and to hang in there…. could you keep me in your prayers? Thanks, Mike

  4. Sometimes, I think, we outgrow a friendship or a friend outgrows us and we both drift apart and move on. This can happen when life situations change. My circle of friends, and even close friends, changed when I got married. Then it changed again when I had kids. Then it kept changing as my kids got older. I can see it changing again as my kids get ready to leave home. Very few close friends have remained in my life for the long haul – only two really.

    At the same time, when friendship grows into a needy and clingy type of relationship, the environment becomes stifling and one of the friends will seek freedom. I’ve had this happen to a few people who wanted to be my friend.

  5. This is so true. I had a very good friend for a very long time, but I began to realize I was the one making the phone calls and initiating contact with her, so I stopped. She sent an email asking what was going on and I was honest with her and told her that it was kind of feeling one-sided, and asked if I had done something to offend so I could make amends. I can’t remember if she ever really responded, but things didn’t change at all, so I just stopped calling her and it’s been a year and a half now since I’ve heard from her. It’s really kind of hurtful to think that you want to be friends with someone more than they want to be with you. I don’t know that this is the case with her, I have no idea what happened with her, if i had offended her or exactly what happened. It made me feel really inadequate and hurt. She phoned me a few weeks ago and left a message. I haven’t called her back yet because it still hurts. I’ll probably ring her back once my kids get back in school and I’ve got a minute of quiet in my house.

    • I love this comment Cheryl – so many of us have things like this happen and we feel all alone in our ‘craziness’ – it’s so nice to know at times like that – we are NOT alone. And it’s okay to feel like this and even better when you feel like this and someone understands ♥

  6. Cindy: You always bless me with your wisdom and writings. Thank you for being who you are.

  7. I think I posted something like a Reader’s Digest version of this as a comment on your blog the other day. My age is showing right now in that I cannot for the life of me remember which post it was. The mind is the first thing to go. lol

    When you are a giver, as you are, you can give so much that you don’t notice someone isn’t giving back and it doesn’t matter. But occasionally you become tired and notice that someone isn’t supporting you when you truly need support. It can be disheartening.

    I usually try to tell myself that people usually do the best they can with what they have at any given time. We may not know the extent of the stress that person is under or why they are distracted or can’t do what they used to. That’s why I love to uplift. I know that if someone is already uplifted, they won’t mind more and if they aren’t, they probably could sure use it.

    • Thanks for your insight and friendship JoJo – I also count you as one of the people in my life who is consistent and a constant source of encouragement and support. You are right – we don’t always know why people act or react in a certain way – frustrating especially when we’ve known them to be very consistent up until now! But it is still our job to ‘uplift’ and not ask the reasons why – to love unconditionally anyway – because it’s the right thing to do. With friends like you – I will make it – and get it right some day ♥

  8. Underneath, we are all “ugly selfish sinners.” Sinners need a savior. That’s what Jesus came to do. Still, we’re human on this side of Glory. We are all going to make mistakes, errors in judgment, say the wrong things from time to time. . . and people will get hurt; oftentimes, it’s us. I, too, am careful about who I throw my heart out to these days. I always say there’s more room in a broken heart, but it hurts just as much every time it happens. You are also right about “getting it” as we age. My big joke is that age brings some wisdom, maybe not enough. . . but some. My prayer is that it is and will be enough. I have been hurt so many times in this life by family and friends. I do not want to intentionally inflict that pain on someone else. And some days, it takes all I have to keep that “ugly selfish sinner” under control. All I have and a LOT of prayer.

    • Thanks Carla – I appreciate your honesty. It takes a big person to admit that you have flaws and make mistakes and are capable of being that ‘ugly selfish sinner’. We are all on a similar journey – learning and living – letting go and retaining. It should get easier as we get older and ‘wiser’ – but it does not automatically mean that it is.

      I count you as one of my dear friends and I’m grateful to you for your love, acceptance, encouragement and support. With people like you in my life – I know I’m going to get it right – one of these days!

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