Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lost Girl....Found

It seems like a lifetime ago & I guess, in a sense, it was.
I was only 18 years old.
In some respects I can’t even remember my life back then.
Different priorities.
Different values.
Completely different views of loyalty, friendship, compassion, love, kindness.

Oh, and.

I’m not actually talking about me.

My priorities have never really shifted.
My view on loyalty & true friendship still as intact today, 20 years later.

It’s the people that were in my life that grasped on to the opposite.

I was in a low-point in my college life.
It looked good on the outside.
I had lots of friends.  A fun job.  A rockin’ social life.  I was in a sorority.

And then.

I wasn’t.

The friends that I had made up to that point where some of my very best.
We did everything together.  Talked for hours on the phone.  Hung out every weekend.  Ate together.  Studied together.  Partied together.  Shared really bad days together.  And had really great days together.

And then.we WEREN’T together.

I felt like I had lost everything the day that I was told that my GPA wasn’t high enough to remain.

I’m not even sure that ‘devastated’ is the best word I could use. 

That day.shaped my heart like only a few others have.

In the days to follow, I felt like I was drowning. Trying so hard to hold on to those friendships like they were a life preserver.  I just couldn’t hold on anymore & they all slipped away little by little.

A new year came.  They moved on.  So many attempts were made to act like I was okay.  And I really wasn’t. 

Spring break arrived & I was invited to go along.  SoI went.

And, another day came that shaped my heart into what it is today.

I wanted so badly to feel a part of this group like I had BEFORE.  Moments were still awkward.  And I completely felt like an outsider tagging along on someone else’s vacation.

I think back to that life-changing night & I really can’t recall what started the argument between the girls but it ended up with my packing most of my things & leaving.

And thereIwas.

In the middle of a lake. 
On a beach. 
On a pay phone making a collect call home. 
Tears streaming down my face. 
I couldn’t catch my breath. 
Not even really aware of what just occurred.
Not ONE friend came to see if I was ok. 
Not ONE.

By the grace of God (& I truly mean that), I met the guy who managed the motel on the lake & he let me stay in one of the only rooms left.

There were thousands of college kids on this lake & friends that I thought I would have for a lifetime & I felt completely & totally alone.

A lot of growing up happened in that 24-hours.

I had to take a cab to find a Western Union.  Another cab to the bus stop.  Take a bus 3 hours to the airport.  Take a middle of the night flight home & in between that, return to get the rest of my things, wait in the motel room for 7 hours while everyone was having a GREAT spring break & I just felt like I WAS breaking!

Even in the writing of the words, my heart still breaks for that girl. 

So what happened when life resumed to ‘normal’? 

WellI finally found myself.

I realized that THEY were not what made me.  That money really can’t buy you friends. That I was so much more than they saw.

It took another year of making new friends.  Finding a new life socially.  Opening up my heart to love again. 

It has taken a very long time to forgive.  The scar that they left is not easy to cover up.  And that’s why I don’t.  That’s why I’m sharing it.

Not to make anyone feel sorry for that lost girl.  But to make another lost girl know that it’s going to be totally fine.  That life will move forward.  Her heart will mend.  And that God says ‘no’ to things at times because He has a greater ‘YES’. 

There is a reason you’re standing on that ‘beach’ right now or in that apartment or school or cubicle or marriage or hospital room.  Don’t let that gaping hole in your heart at this moment, be for nothing!  Fill it up with something MORE!!

That moment in time made me grow up.  It was not easy & I’m not sure I would walk that path again.  But I know what I look for in friendships now.  I know what I search for in this life.  And I am so much stronger. 

Many things have attributed to that strength but that moment was a BIGGIE!

I’m not sure why we all try to be something that we think others would like better.  Cuz I tried that & I ended up on a beach in the middle of nowhere.

My real self would have been just fine.  And even if it wasn’t fine, with THEM anyway, I would have been.

Insecurity can be a wrecking ball on your life if you allow it.  And I did.  For a moment.  Then I picked up the pieces.  Brushed the sand off my toes & got back to life.

Life is not all good.  It’s not laughter all of the time.  Friends will hurt you.  Your heart will get broken.  You will be disappointed by a LOT of different people. 

It’s my prayer that the same friends that hurt me in that season, never experience that same feeling.  Forgiveness is a difficult thing!  It’s taken a long time.  But that slate, for me, has been wiped clean.  And so has my heart!  

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