Love Thy Neighbor

Journey to 30

Day 5: Buildling/ Restoring Bridges

My first school was a private Baptist school in Houston, TX.  The school was quite young, and our class was a bit small.  We were close though to say the least.

I remember after moving to west Texas in second grade I would play on the playground with whomever was playing in a near vicinity.  At the conclusion of our play I would be asked over and over again, “Do you want to be my friend?”  I would look at them with confusion and respond, “aren’t we all friends in the eye’s of the Lord?”  I’ve never understood turning your back on a friendship, I’ve never understood wanting to be alone and without the help of your neighbor.

One of my best friends to this day I met as he laid like he did most days, alone and appearing somewhat annoyed with everyone on the gymnasium floor.  I sat beside him one day and asked, “Why are you lying on the floor, why don’t you want friends?”  From that moment he has been one of my closest friends and my ultimate confidant.

This summer I took my kids to a local playground where they became instant friends with another young toddler.  They laughed and played as if they had known one another all their lives.  I was taken back to my own childhood as I looked at the mother who sat two benches over from me, “I miss it being so easy and innocent, just be friends with whomever is around.”

The woman gave me that look that I was so personally familiar with, “Well why can’t you?  Isn’t that how it should be?”

I was taken aback, and I began to feel remorse.  In marriage, in child-bearing, in moving I had lost so many friends.  I had closed myself off from the outside.  I had decided to just go at it alone.  When exactly had this happened?  When had I lost life long friends?  I was haunted with the words of an incredibly wise friend who said the secret to success was to burn as few bridges as possible, and I began to feel like a failure.

I went home and opened an old photo album full of Polaroids I had taken from my first day of first grade at the baptist school.  In the back of my head I heard one of my dear friend’s Jeremy say in a soft squeaky mocking tone, “Can I take a picture of you with my Polaroid camera?”  I began to worry, had I burned the bridges or just widened
them?  I looked at the picture of the godmother of my daughters and thought, wow it’s nearly been a year since we have even spoken.   I thought back to friends from elementary, junior high, and college and I began to wonder if any of them were mad, hurt, or even aware of my absence.

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I hope to begin the repairing and rebuilding of bridges.  I hope to figure out how to better juggle lifelong friends and family, even with such a great gap of time passed and geographical space.  I will also begin to re-extend my hand and allow myself to again create friendships with those around me.  

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