“A friend loves at ALL times..” Proverbs 17:17a (NIV)
“My friends’ rock.”
“I’ve got the greatest friends.”
“My friends fill me up.” “Meet my needs.” “Help me.”
Can you hear your old self saying one or more of these things before you became a widow?
Or maybe you’re blessed and still say these things now?
I’ve heard 75% of widows can lose up to 75% of their friends.
That’s staggering! And sad!
Why do so many widows lose so many friends?
We love our friends, our friends love us. They cry with us, mourn with us, and support us and vice versa. We’ve done “life” together, with some, for many years.
In the beginning. It’s easy. Those first few weeks and months. Everyone rallies. Everyone loves. Everyone is there.
Because, they go back to their life. They go back to their normal.
And we are left. Left to deal. Left to find new. Left, no longer a couple. Left searching. Left alone. Left lonely.
The truth is our friends typically don’t know how to help us beyond a certain point. They might not know what to say. Some find it awkward. They don’t know how to fit us in now. They’re not even sure what we need.
Then, there’s some who might think they do and they tell us. In some of the harshest, most insensitive ways.
Really though, why would they have a clue? This has never happened to them!
And the truth is we don’t want to tell them, and when/if we try, they don’t “hear” or understand. And many times we don’t even know what to tell them anyway.
We aren’t a couple anymore, yet we live in a couple’s world. Some of us have been relinquished to the daytime outings, lunch dates, shopping, play dates (if you still have little ones). Sometimes an invite out, when it’s actually dark, if their husband is away or busy.
Honestly, this is murky water, with no real right or wrong. It’s just some of the reality of widowhood.
Some friends remain, others are lost.
So, how do we do this process with grace? How do we honor God in the midst of this additional loss?
How do we, the offended, show Christ to those who abandon us or hurt us or fall short?
How do we learn and grow? How do we even recognize our own shortcomings or sinfulness in our friendships?
Well, first we must remember that God is the ONLY ONE who will fill us up. Make us whole. HE is all we need. No friend will meet every need or be our husband, our Christ, or our Holy Spirit.
But, I want friendships. I want to have a “life”, you’re thinking. I need the help, the support.
We all do! And we certainly can find ways to cultivate a new life and maintain some friendships.
Make the first move if a friend means that much to you. Don’t wait for your friends to know or to ask. Be open, honest, and loving. Accept and embrace the different ways you might maintain important friendships.
Or cultivate new friends by joining clubs or groups, reaching out to acquaintances who you’ve never thought to reach out to, volunteering, attending church functions, or even finding a new church.
Sherry and I have experienced so much of this on our widowhood journey. Please join us in Dallas as we tackle this extremely important and yet tough topic. We will learn and grow from God’s word on friendship and gain new insight and understanding from each other’s experiences.
Hope to see you in few weeks!
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