A toast goodbye

Life is a series of unforeseen events.

A few blogs back I mentioned an incident with a close friend of mine. It was a volatile argument that produced vile judgment spewed all over me about my family. That exchange occurred in June in New Orleans. It was a friend I have had in my life for twenty-five years. It has ended our friendship.

A great deal of turmoil bubbled up inside of me about the breakup of this relationship. It was so unusual, and so heartbreaking. I searched, I prayed, and I mediated. Ultimately, I asked God to reveal to me what I needed to learn from this situation.

God loves to deliver a lesson in all things. And, what a lesson. I began to analyze this relationship and over the past few years it had turned toxic. I tried to prove my loyalty to this person through material extravagances. I bought her a cask of wine for her fortieth birthday. Even though money is tight, I wanted to prove to her how much she meant to me. I gave over $100.00 and my cousin paid the remainder of the $80 balance. She didn’t demand it and even said we didn’t have to do it for her.

Then, she wanted us to go to New Orleans for her 40th birthday celebration. Again, I overspent myself because it was something she really wanted to do. Originally I found a cheap flight, but it reduced our time in the city by a day. This upset her so much that she cried and laid down an epic guilt trip. We, my cousin and I, then cancelled that flight and booked a flight that was two hundred dollars more. Did I see a problem at this point? Nope.

These were the two recent instances. I also asked her to be my daughter’s godmother because at the time she was childless and I thought that this sacred title would bring us closer together and bring her a level of happiness because she always wanted to be a mother. I felt that it might not be the best choice, but I ignored that nagging in my gut and asked her anyway.

It was during my intense self-examination of this friendship that I realized how truly unhealthy it was. I never completely felt at ease in her presence. There were times I often held back what I shared for fear of some backhanded judgment. But, she is a good person, with good intentions. I have also known her for twenty-five years of my life. These factors kept me yoked to her through the years.

I overlooked all these signals of a sickly friendship. It is actually embarrassing to even admit. I thought at forty years old that I would be beyond such obviously dysfunctional relationships. Yet, I was not and I am not. It is a good thing that this friendship has dissolved and it needed to be violently torn asunder, otherwise I would have continued in my unhealthy practices.

We still aren’t talking, and I still had to deal with this wine (after the New Orleans fall out she refused it). My cousin and I decided to take the wine and treat our extensive network of wine loving and teaching friends. We took that fortieth birthday gift wine and gave it to our teacher friends. And you know what? We had a great time.

My cousin, in her kindness, toasted me and friendship at the end of the night. So, even though I lost a childhood friend, I gained self-knowledge. I was also able to turn something sad and negative into something fun and positive.

I’m glad that God and the universe still has a lot to teach me about human character, and my own flaws. So, last night was a toast goodbye. A goodbye to an unhealthy relationship and a toast to the ability to turn something dark into light. A toast to the ability to continue to learn, grow, and evolve.

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