It hurts. Don't lie to yourself.
Don't tell yourself that it will be fine, that it will all be okay if you just ignore the fact that things have changed. Do not believe the lie that friendships are static, that they will always remain the same. Do not think that if you change, you will lose everything.
No matter how much it hurts, take the time to listen as they ask you, ever so gently, to set them free. Listen to the voice of the friend who intertwined their life with yours, who became as family, who laughed with you, cried with you, and who has taught you more about friendship, about love, about life, than you ever thought possible. Listen as they ask you quietly, gently, lovingly, one of the hardest questions you will ever have to answer: 'Will you let me go?'
But this friendship, it is safe where it is. Where it is you understand it, you can make sense of it. This is how it was given to you, how it came. You have invested in it, cared for it, watched quietly as it grew into something beautiful. And you, you have loved it. Oh, how you have loved it.
But now, now you are being asked to learn to love in a different way. A way apart from yourself. One far away. One that stretches miles upon miles, one that embraces other people, one that learns to love those they have chosen to love. One no less important, no less significant, but one that hurts. Oh, how it hurts to let someone go. Oh the fear that paralyses as you clutch and grasp at what you so desperately want to keep a hold on. And yet, as you hold on, you know that the place they need to be is away from you. You know that away from you they will flourish, away from you is where, for now, they are called to be. You relinquish the control, you relinquish all that once was, all that you love, and you commit to learn to love in a new way. A way which empowers, which sees them reach their full potential. Where they will learn to be the person they have been created to be, the person they are called to be.
They will not go until you let them, you see. They care so deeply for you that they cannot bear to leave if you will not let them go, if you will not embrace the change that so needs to happen. They will leave a part of themselves with you unless you give them permission to take themselves, and begin to grow fully as they learn. You must take a deep breath, relinquish control, and trust. Trust that, just as they will leave, so they will return. Trust that as you let them go, they will one day come back and nothing will have changed. They will be the same person, but they will be a better version of themselves. They will be fulfilled, and free. Trust that as you let them go, you are not letting them fall, you are not abandoning, you are not forsaking, but you are loving. Empowering. Freeing. Trusting. For as you let them go, you know that they are safe in the everlasting arms. The God who has asked you to let them go is the same God who created them, who knows them intimately, and who loves them more than you ever could. And with that knowledge, you can trust.
It hurts to let people go. It hurts to set people free from the grasp of what you thought would remain for ever. It is hard to learn a new way to love those you care most about. And yet, as you do, you will not only see them find their true potential, their freedom, but you too will find yours.
There is, you see, a time for everything. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. And so, we must let go of those we love, for they are worth more than the love we alone can give them. They have far more potential than that which can be reached from our control over who we desire them to be. They have more lives to impact than ours alone. We must practise the art of letting go, in the knowledge that the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, but ultimately, we can only love them because He loved them first.
Hi, I’m Nell. Alianore, if we’re being overly formal (that’s pronounced ‘Eleanor’, by the way). I’m a blogger, author, speaker, and occasional over-thinker. An introvert who likes to talk. A theologian, on a good day. A Christian, a storyteller, and a friend.