Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Friends and truth -

Reading Henri Nouwen's selection for April 7, Bread for the Journey, I am reminded of 2 friends that of late I have inadvertently harmed - not physically, of course - but mental anguish that I've inflicted.

Having meant no harm and still having a hard time understanding where I went wrong in relaying to each of them what I felt was a true reading of a situation in which we (me and each of them separately) were involved, I hurt them. One chose to tell me she was annoyed with me and did not appreciate my "take on what I clearly knew nothing about."

In the other case, I told the friend that something in our relationship was making me uncomfortable; I did not ask for severance, only an adjustment in our conversations. Saying she understood, she now has publicly shunned me - meaning I have hurt her terribly! I am very sorry about these two instances. I spoke to each in truth as friends and confidantes with whom I felt comfortable. I misjudged the friendship bond. I have apologized for the harm; but I'm not sure that the apologies are accepted. I regret not so much as speaking in truth but in the hurt they felt and that which I now feel.

Mr. Nouwen always has words to live by and possibly I was sent these words today - I paraphrase slightly to relay the message that he had for me.....

At times like these we need to be reminded that crushed grapes can produce delicious wine. It might be hard for us to trust that any joy can come from the harm we have inflicted, but if we continue to take steps in prayer and reconciliation with our friends, the bond that seemed to be lost may be found again and made stronger.

Thanks Henri, and thanks to you for reading today....

photo by SS


  1. i am so glad you found the words from nouwen they seem so perfect for the instances you describe. i hope it brings you great comfort to know you are not alone in these feelings

    i am so proud of you for having both the courage to speak the truth and not wanting to "take it back", but still feeling for the hurt in the relationships with your friends.

    i have no doubt that you are a good friend and if reconciliation is what you desire then i pray it will come your way. who knows what "delicious wine may come from these crushed grapes"?


  2. I have been in a few situations where I've tried very hard to frame my statement just right, and darn it, it doesn't always work! "When you said such-and-such, I felt such-and-such, and I need such-and-such." It's supposedly a time honored formula for conveying a feeling without blaming.

    So why ever do people choose to be offended? Must be that doggone free will thing. At least we aren't alone. God probably has trouble with that too. :)

    I'm sorry to hear about your pain, and I hope it works out okay.

  3. Lucy and Wren, both of your comments feel so supportive - thank you! We just see our own side so easily don't we?! Dang! The least of my intents is ever to inflect pain on another person and when it happens whether I understand it or not, it is so disappointing with one left wondering, what did I do wrong or right or why couldn't my voice or body language or what been different!!

    The good news is that I believe in reconciliation w/o having to "back down" on either side. Though, it does feel like a hard chair at the peace table.

    Thank you again for your responses.