It was a whirlwind romance. We were swept up in commonality and shared souls. In bared hearts and penchants for kindness and sunshine and The National. We were fast friends at a time when I was simply seeking to lean in to life a little more. To do more good with what time I have left here. To find my voice and follow it. To trust it. To know it. Like most of my relationships in their beginnings, she thrust herself into my heart like a rocket and planted seeds there. Sowed herself neatly into the field of my friendship and took root. But then, like a dandelion in the warm breezes of summer, she was gone. Without warning or explanation she disengaged. She cut me off suddenly, entirely, from even witnessing her life from the sidelines. Not only was I no longer participatory in her life (or her in mine) but I was stripped of my ability to even be a witness.
Her rapid detachment from my life has left me reeling.
I thought I’d be fine. That I’d get over it, given the brief duration of our time together and the strength of relationships I still have. The friendships I nurture, collectively with the people engaged alongside me in them, and cultivate and till and harvest. Over and over.
Season after season.
Year after year.
But it turns out I’m not okay. Amidst a sea of people who know and love and appreciate and honor me all I can see is the one who doesn’t and, what’s worse I don’t know why.
I keep reminding myself that I can be the prettiest, juiciest, freshest peach in the whole entire world and there’s still going to be someone who just doesn’t like peaches. And that’s okay. Peaches aren’t for everyone – I am not for everyone. But no matter how hard I try, how many times I repeat the same mantra, I can’t help but feel broken.
So I’m doing the only thing I know how; I’m writing. I’m writing a letter that I would write had a faceless, nameless stranger sent me the exact soliloquy I just offered here. If she wrote to me about her friend, about her longing for answers and her sense of brokenness and heartbreak, about wanting to find closure or meaning or make sense of it all.
This is what I would tell her:
Cheryl Strayed said it best at the end of her book Wild; “There’s no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another. What leads to what. What destroys what. What causes what to flourish or die or take another course.” It’s perfectly normal to want closure. To want to know what happened, what made your friend suddenly become not-your-friend-anymore and to have a burning need for explanation. It’s the human condition to want to right a wrong and you cannot do that if you are handed silence in place of clarity. But clarity isn’t yours to receive, darling. It is hers to give or not to give. You have got to let go, dear girl, of all that you think you are or are not. Of all the wrongs you are convincing yourself you did that caused this, or all the things you think you are not that caused this. Because there is no way to know what makes one thing happen and not another.
You cannot do anything but live your life. To be the best person you know how to be day in and day out. To continue to bare your heart and lean in to life a little more. To lead with kindness and do the most good with what time you have left here. You have to be the peach in a place where not everyone likes peaches. And you have to be okay with that. You want to know what happened, but you have to find a way to be okay with not knowing. To see that sea of people who surround you. Who know you and love you and want to lift you up. To do anything but hear them as they sing to you is a disservice to their friendship and their love and the relationships you’ve forged in the field of your heart.
The negative voices are the loudest, darling, I know that. Believe me, I do, but their volume is simply that. Noise. It’s not the rhythm or the cadence or the rise and fall of the bass notes, it’s just the fuzz from the amplifier. It’s not the beat, darling girl, so stop marching to it. Hold that peach in your hand and smile because you are human. Because you are flawed and flawless. Perfectly imperfect. Because you have such an enormous capacity and propensity for love and kindness and goodness and light. These things are your rhythm section. These things are your guitarists. Your backup singers.
Take the stage, sweet girl.
We – your crowd of adoring fans – are out here waiting for you to remember that your worth isn’t defined by how one person responds to or thinks of you.
She just doesn’t like peaches.