Relationships here in Uganda are completely different than back home.
Companionship is nothing more than a school yard relationship that begins & ends each day with the start of class.
To have a “best friend” – in our contextual understanding here in Uganda; just doesn’t occur. They have friends and consider others special yet to decide that a particular person may be placed into a category that sets them apart from others, is a foreign concept.
Friendship for me has always been something that has come easy & never been something I’ve had to “work on” and truly was not until last August – I learned what it meant to truly lose a friendship I literally cared the world for.
We started as childhood friends – young & adventurous it made several nights at church much more enjoyable; knowing that we would at least have the other. As the years continued our lives only intertwined more. We became best friends. From sharing babysitters that became more like older sisters, to adventures & events that only created even more memories for us to share, sharing life outside of church; we grew more & more together, taking classes together, carpooling everywhere; literally driving severely out of my way to carpool – because that’s what best friends did.
Yet, although a perfect end to my “Hallmark” story would be such an amazing story to tell for years to come – for me, that’s not the case.
Like most “friendships” between a guy & a girl – someone falls in love and unfortunately my story will not be on Oprah or featured in some editorial of a magazine highlighting amazing childhood friendship turned best friends turned life time lovers.
Mine is a story of longing, maturity & realization of what the Lord tells us relationships are to look like. For me, the fear of losing something that I so desperately needed, so lovingly clung to for years & truly didn’t want to end. Yet, it came to a point where to continue seeking what He in His plan has for me I needed to give my entire life to Him- especially in surrendering every part of my life to Him; including the thing I was diligently disobeying of giving up.
It came to a point where our relationship was no longer Biblical. We shared so many moments together that for us to pursue other people or to allow others to pursue her – it would create a wall being that our best friends, biblically, needed to be our future spouses.
One day – the Lord spoke clear, honest & straight to me.
“Deal with it, address what you are so afraid of losing so you understand you’ve never fully given it to me”.
So for months I ran from that – how had I never fully given to my God the one thing that I consistently was laying at His feet.
With all things His grace is so sufficient. It was during my running – I truly became aware of what exactly the relationship would have to become if I continued to disobey & stay silent of the true status of my heart.
For me it was not in hopes that something would come from it – it truly was so I knew that I had been honest about my heart & obeyed what I truly felt God wanting me to address. I needed it for me, so in 25 years I knew the answer to the question, to the wonder and to the always nagging, “what if?”
So I was honest, laid it all out there, became completely transparent – so transparent I made Casper look bad.
20 minutes of raw emotion have never flowed with more fluidity in my life. Yet was met with stonewall quiet that silence itself awkwardly sought to escape.
She said nothing.
My best friend. My number 1 for so long. My person. My “knows everything there is to know about anything having to do with you” person.
Here in Uganda – they’re blunt, upfront & honest about their feelings & intentions. Which in the long run – truly saves so much hurt.
Yet my hurt didn’t stop that night as we sat in my car. That night the silenced screamed so loud it was deafening.
We decide & agreed that because the feelings were not reciprocated that our relationship needed to change, had to shift & we had to move towards being “surface” level friends. We couldn’t have the 100% access into the depths of each others lives like we had had for so long.
She didn’t get that part. Moving away from home was hard for her – as the texts, facebook messages & calls only increased; to share life, daily happenings & funny jokes only we would get.
It had to stop.
I wasn’t moving on. I was stuck in this same place – For me, it wasn’t fair. For me and my heart – I had to fully, let go.
Hardest email, I’ve ever written – pressing send = almost impossible.
The ending of a friendship here in Uganda only occurs with minor things – because they don’t have the same ideology or emotional characteristics associated with the word friend like we do.
Yet – in my hurt & the dealing with the loss of something so important, she had to be the victim – she in her genetic DNA had to be the one who was hurt, victimized & pure in my heartbreak by creating slanderous lies that only ripped our divide faster apart than mere space & time would have done alone.
So quickly – someone who once held a sizeable portion of my heart – only now fills that same part with disgust, bitterness, hurt, anger, questions – with pain.
I’m still working through the stuff I need to work through – dealing with the emotional pain and the other things that have come to the surface. Dealing with the absence of someone who filled a large part of the last 20 years of my life.
Real life is hard – sometimes it’s painful.
Yet over the last year in my pain – in the testing of my faith – my Jesus is good, faithful, living & so comforting.
To think I almost allowed my pain, bitterness & hurt to stop me from coming on this trip – to Uganda. I find myself chuckling at how crazy that sounds. I almost allowed myself to miss out on an opportunity to return to my hearts passion.
Yet, the Lord is so good at reaffirming, reminding & allowing our own selfishness from hindering His bigger picture.
I did what He commanded.
I shared my heart.
I did what He commanded.
I came to Africa, again.
I did what He commanded.
I know, in the place where the pain is the most uncomfortable – I’m right where He wants me because that’s where He is the most present.
This year has been a struggle.
This year has been painful.
This year has been real, raw & emotional.
Yet, the crops that will be yielding when this chapter closes – will be so rewarding.
For that, I am so thankful.
I love Africa. I love everything He has taught me in such a short amount of time. We serve an amazing God.
My Jesus, is good.
Continuing to Fully Surrender – every. single. day