I am about to make a major move, physically relocating across the country. This means many of my relationships will be changing in some way. I have moved many times, some bigger than others which has given me the perspective that people come in and out of our lives at a time for a reason. Sometimes an old friend will reappear after a long hiatus, and sometimes friends or family members will drop off for a bit, or move quietly out of our lives never to be seen again.
I believe all relationships have seasons. People bring unique gifts to our lives at a given time and sometimes they stay a long time or even forever, but sometimes they don’t and the original friendship takes on a different light or none at all.
I recently spoke to a friend about this very type of thing. He is a wonderful, kind and very giving friend to all whom he bestows his friendship upon. Recently a friendship of his that was once very meaningful was changing and he was having a hard time with the different tone it was beginning to take on. When I shared with him my point of view that his relationship might be going through a seasonal change, he was puzzled by the idea. I explained that as the seasons change outside, it makes no sense to try to hold onto the one that is departing. You wouldn’t see someone trying to tie leaves back onto a tree branch after they had fallen. You see people outside raking and clearing the ground for the next new thing to come – snow in these parts. Putting leaves back onto a tree that has naturally shed them doesn’t make any sense, and neither does holding onto a relationship “the way it used to be.”
Just because the seasons change, and the leaves drop off the tree, does not make the tree dead, it just makes it look and feel different. If the leaves did not come off the tree, the tree would certainly suffer irreparable harm when the snow fell and the leaves caught the snow making the branch buckle and break under the weight of the snow.
Relationships too have their seasons; they ebb and flow, wax and wane with life events. If we are growing, our needs are changing from time to time and different people will fulfill those needs at different times. Allowing and appreciating the new season and accepting the changes it brings opens us up to different possibilities, sometimes even with the same people. Preventing something from following the natural course of change may bring pain or destruction to the very thing we’re trying to preserve.
Each season has a purpose and to miss that is a lost opportunity. Truly enjoying our relationships entails allowing them the freedom to be what they are at any given moment and love them as they are.