Burning Bridges

When we look back on our lives, there will always be some things we wish we could have done differently. Most of my regrets center around past relationships I let slip away – due to conflict, time, or distance. There is one past relationship that bothers me most, and when I think about my regrets in life, it’s the first thing that comes to mind.

Abby (not her real name) and I were very different from each other. She had an olive-skinned complexion with incredibly dark brown eyes framed by even darker lashes, so dark that she never needed to wear makeup. She wore her black hair in a ponytail on most days. My skin was snow-white in comparison, my eyes dark blue, my hair a mousy brown. She loved speech contests, and I was terrified of public speaking. She was a Muslim and I was a Christian, and to be honest I found some of her beliefs and practices to be quite ridiculous (ex: wearing pants on scorchingly hot summer days because wearing shorts – even while playing soccer – was immodest). But somehow we became really good friends in high school. In fact, she was one of my best friends.

It’s strange how bridges can be burned in an instant, how the sparks from a single argument can set everything ablaze. It all changed one day when we had an argument after soccer practice. Deeply offended by what I had said, she quickly began to distance herself from me. I was never very good at apologies, so I gave her space, assuming she would “get over it” in a few weeks. But weeks turned into months, and months turned into years. I was invited to her open house party, but that was the last time we saw each other. I wrote her a letter of apology at one point when I was in college, but I never ended up mailing it. I didn’t even know where she lived and I no longer had her phone number.

Fortunately, I remembered there’s a little something called Facebook, so I sent her the following message:

Abby,

It’s been a long time since we last talked. No, that’s an understatement. It’s been years… I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for giving up on our friendship so easily, for so carelessly dismissing your beliefs, for burning bridges and waiting until now to apologize… You were one of my best friends, and I miss that. I still have the beautiful jewelry box you gave me, the ring and slippers, as well as countless priceless memories tucked away for safekeeping. I wish you all the best!

Kiersten

I sent that message this morning, hoping for a response but not necessarily expecting one. I wanted her to forgive me, but if she chose not to that would be okay too. I agree with Frodo when he says, “There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep… that have taken hold.” My aim was simply to deliver a heartfelt apology that was a long time in coming so that she could know that our friendship meant something to me, and it still does even after all these years! I thought I would end this post not knowing how she felt, but exactly twenty-four minutes later she replied:

Hey Kiersten,

It’s really nice to hear from you. It has definitely been a long time. Honestly, there are no hard feelings about anything that happened between us. High school was a long time ago, and we were all growing. We had many good times together and I always look back on them fondly. I still have the journal you gifted me and I even travel with it 🙂 I appreciate your message very much and am glad it gave us the opportunity to get back in touch. I wish you the best of luck with everything and hope you and your family have a beautiful Christmas this year!

Abby

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Thank you, God.

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