Friendship Follies

It started innocently enough–dinner with friends.  A Christian couple we have known for years—good food, good wine, a good time to be had by all and then came the question from my friend, Dorothy; the same friend that had prayed, about Jesus being the tie that binds us in friendship, at their last party:

“Are you going to women’s retreat and will you room with me?”

It seemed simple enough.  My throat tightened a little, but I remained calm, “No, I’m not going this year,” I said.  I felt better just in saying it.

“Well, why not?” she surprised me by asking. You need to understand, this is not typically a confrontational woman.  She asked, so I answered.

“Because I just don’t want to this year.” That seemed simple enough.  What I thought, but didn’t say was, “I’d rather have my eyes poked out.”

She continued with her query, which was feeling more and more like an interrogation. ”Well, why don’t you want to?”

Okay, maybe I should put it another way:  “It’s just not something I’m interested in right now, please don’t take it personally.”  Then it happened—something changed.

“But I do take it personally, where are you at spiritually, anyway?”

Her whole face had changed.  Mind you this was not said kindly or lovingly.  I felt my heart start to race.

I said, “Look, I just don’t want to go.”

The immediate response was, “I get it; don’t worry you won’t see me asking you to go again.”

Ouch, that was a bit stinging. Now, I was confused.  Okay, I thought, get me out of here or pour me another glass of wine, no, wait, just give me the bottle.   I tried to explain to her that I had already been asked by a couple of other women and I was feeling a little pressured.

She responded by snidely saying, “Oh, well, you must have way more friends than me, because no one else has asked me, you must be lucky that way.”

I was completely and utterly stunned.  I was wondering if I should offer to give her back the knife she had just shoved into my sternum, but I refrained.

She proceeded to accuse me of shutting her out and why don’t I go to church so much anymore, etc., etc.  I was wondering why she wouldn’t have had this discussion in private instead of in a public place, around other people.  I mean, if she had truly cared about me and my wellbeing, she would have, right?

I would have loved to have poured my heart out to her; shared with her my journey and my de-conversion process, but looking at her and seeing her reaction, I knew I couldn’t.  It would have been inappropriate.  I know it will come out eventually and the thought of it makes me want to run like the wind.  The hard reality is our friendship is contingent on me being a Christian.  I’m learning this the hard way.

Finally the evening ended (thankfully) and she gave me a big hug and said, “I will always be your friend.”

I hugged her back and asked, “No matter what?”

She said, “Yes.”

I cried all the way home knowing in my heart it wasn’t true.

I expected an apology call the next day.  I mean, she really was unkind, and it would be like her to be remorseful, but I didn’t receive one.  I did receive a cute note three days later telling me she was praying for me…thank God.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Zoe
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 05:37:14

    Oh my heart sank…I so remember, even now I feel the knife. As well I feel that ball in my throat. I know of what you speak. (((Hugs))) for you Notabarbie. I think it wise that you take it slowly.


  2. notabarbie
    Apr 02, 2007 @ 06:24:25

    I believe I will take your wise advice. Thanks for the cyber hugs. I needed them.


  3. HeIsSailing
    May 28, 2007 @ 13:19:08

    Hello Notabarbie, I found you through the agnosticatheist site. I enjoyed reading your articles, but this one is particularly relevant to me. After discontinuing my home bible study, I left some pretty confused people behind, all of whom I counted on as friends. Thankfully, I still talk to one of them. The rest took my doubting, and eventual departure from Christianity as a direct insult. I try to be understanding – after all I have rejected their Jesus, the one whom they insist we all must center our lives on, but it is still kind of painful.

    I read your comment to me on my old HeIsSailing site, concerning a sort of meeting place or ‘church’ for those of us who have left Fundamentalism. I still attend Catholic mass with my wife as a means to reflect, and to stay connected with some good friends, and participate in some of the programs, and in that respect it works for me. But I still miss the binding ties of a common religious belief system. I suppose that is why I am now on the internet – sort of a cyber, recovering Fundamentalist support group of sorts.


  4. notabarbie
    May 28, 2007 @ 19:38:32

    Thanks and I know exactly what you mean. I am still thankful for the day or I should say night (it was probably 3AM or so) that, out of despair, I googled “doubting Christianity.” It truly was a life saver for me and still is. I’ve toyed with the idea of attending mass and I just may do that.

    Thanks for reading my posts.


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