When I started college, I knew that to assimilate better to life there, I should join a club. It took a while to find the right group; I didn't want to surround myself with facetious or obnoxious people after all.
I eventually found a club that valued spirituality and faith. The group of college Christians welcomed me with joy and laughter. Even though I had issues with mental illness, they focused on my identity as a Christian rather than my depression. They encouraged me to be more open and have faith.
Some graduated and moved away for better career opportunities. Some interned at the club or stayed involved somehow. But those who I was close within the club preferred to keep their distance. After one of my friends' engagement fell through, she didn't crave intimacy with the others from the group. So then it became only the five of us.
Two friends out of my group were more focused on their academics and gossiping; they eventually left and found new people to hang out with. Then I removed myself from the group due to feelings of insecurity. It wasn't until I reached out when I felt lonely that I realized though that I could still have the greatest friendships despite not being close to each other anymore.
I want to say that I don't have anything against them for the dissipation of our friendships. But when it was happening, I didn't. I was very resentful for watching my friendships fall apart, and so quickly. I wanted to repair them.
But it takes two to fix any relationship. While I wanted my friends back, they had to want me back too. It almost hurt when they moved on. It felt like they were rejecting me.
I learned that my friendships will bring out the best in me and my worst. So when I reached out, it was my way of making peace with not only them but myself. I couldn't beat myself up for having any friends because I did. I just didn't have them presently.
I also learned that I can still love my friends for what they had taught me. I can still honor them and send them a text saying, "thinking of you." Because our lives are mainly there, in the experiences we have had with one another, and not the number of friends on our social media accounts.
You make friends as a way to connect to something larger than yourself. It's a conscious choice. Probably one of the most valuable too because your friends will mold you into the type of person you're going to be.
So even though my friends from college and I are no longer close, I still have to thank them for all the memories we've had. Out-of-state conferences and late nights full of singing. Having in-depth conversations about God and faith. And I love them despite being distant now because they've shown me how to grow in faith and as a person.