Saying Goodbye

We met on a sunny day in May. She was pure light, energetic, excited to be there. She was the type of person that got excited for people.

She was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. Ben had rejected me and left the country. My heart hung heavy on my chest just thinking of it.

She and I had signed up to volunteer for a refugee kids camp. Her name was Ashley.

Ashley chatterboxed about her husband, who was serving overseas in a ministry. She told an outrageous story. They had sold almost all their belongings to join this ministry. He had gone before her and she would join him. His name was Richard.

I went home and emailed Ben about her. I had made a new friend. I liked her immediately.

Like I said, she was what I needed at that time in my life.

***

As our friendship changed, my comfort level changed. Ashley mentored me. I wanted a mentor. I needed a mentor. I just didn’t want her to be my mentor.

I just wanted her to be my friend. I wanted her to value me differently.

But for a few years, I said nothing. I silently wasted away, feeling smaller and smaller.

She did good things. She fed me good food when I had none. She bought me sweet gifts on my birthday. She answered my phone calls. She ran to my aid when I wanted to die.

She did so much. Her husband did so much. But I felt so small.

I had nothing to give her back. I had nothing to offer her. I would cry during long nights.

Was this how a mentor relationship should work? Was this how it should feel?

I didn’t know.

***

I had tried everything I could to fix our relationship. I had tried to have an honest conversation. I loved Ashley. I loved Richard. This was a relationship I wanted to fight for.

But they didn’t want to fight for me. They wanted to be right more than they wanted to be loving.

It broke my heart the day I ended the relationship.

I lashed out for months after. I wanted to be right more than I wanted to be loving.

Until one day, I realized you can’t fix broken things by smashing them harder.

So I sent them another email. I didn’t say how hurt I was. I didn’t say I was sorry either. I had done both far too many times.

I just said thank you. Thank you for being my friend for a season.

I knew it was goodbye. I knew you can’t advocate to be loved.

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