I have always wanted to be everyone’s friend. I have worked hard to make friends and to build meaningful friendships.
For twelve years, I lived in a small town. I thought that I had made great friendships. I cared about them and I thought they cared about me.
Then, a girlfriend asked me to help her start race; a half marathon, 10k and 5k. After some hesitation (I had just given birth to my seventh baby), I agreed. She was my friend, and I loved the idea.
We knew it would be a lot of work, so we decided to ask another runner to assist us with the race. The three of us spent countless hours together, planning, advertising, and directing the race.
…and it was awesome!
Not surprisingly though, things had not always gone very smoothly with three people in charge. After the race, we determined that we would not need the third race director for future races. We privately thanked her, and informed her of our decision.
She did not take the news very well. In a small town, word travels fast. Suddenly, people were treating me very differently. People that I cared about, people that were my friends, were whispering about me. At church, at Zumba, and at the school, they were saying that I was heartless. They were saying that I was mean. No one wanted to talk to me. No one asked how I felt. They ignored me. The friendships died.
It was all very painful.
I was never able to rebuild those friendships. How could I? I could forgive, but I couldn’t start over. I couldn’t trust them with my feelings. I could never call them my friends again. They became acquaintances.
The race director moved out of state, and my small town got even smaller.
But, like a lot of difficult things, I learned a lot.
I learned that not everyone cares about me, as much as I care about them.
I learned that I shouldn’t worry so much about what other people think of me.
I learned that I should make decisions based on what I think is right, not what others might think of my decisions.
Ultimately, this experience made me stronger. Maybe I should go back to that small town and thank those women… nah, they don’t really care.