Someone once told me that people can be like seasons. They come, they serve their purpose in the big picture of your life, and then they go. For a while, that sentiment was comforting to me as I grew apart from friends or went through breakups, but I’ve realized it’s just not true.
First of all, seasons come, go, and then they come back again. Seasons represent a cycle. Things are born, they thrive, they decay, and then they die. But they are born again in the next cycle. The cycle is certain, it is measured, it is reliable. People are none of those things.
Seasons also remain unaffected by any amount of labor or feeling invoked as a response to them. Loving summer ardently will do no more to extend it’s time with us, than despising winter would to shorten its time frosting the ground.
People respond. People cling to the things they love and shuck away the things they hate with surprising fervor. People are willing to work to have more love and less hate and they feel their work makes a difference on others.
Relationships are work. There is some chemistry involved, some chance – but mostly work. You work to stay in touch, you work to talk, you work to do things together. Maybe you don’t notice this work at first because you have so much fun with them. They live close by, they understand you! But then one of you moves away, or gets a different job, or meets a new partner – then you’ve put stress on it. Tell me it isn’t work now.
When a relationship fades to black it’s not a matter of irreconcilable differences or distance – it’s a lack of work. One party refuses to work as hard as the other to nourish the relationship. One party decides to be mean or lazy or to simply ignore the work at hand. A relationship is a more fragile creature than any of us care to admit. It can only survive for so long as a one-sided endeavor.
Sometimes both parties say we should not be as close – we will work less on each other. And that’s ok. But if you’ve ever let a relationship go without that conversation, then don’t kid yourself, you just weren’t willing to work for it. Communication and connection are dead.
And if you’re on the other side – it hurts. To go from something close and meaningful to nothing at all feels desolate, and what’s worse, unnecessary. Someone has chosen to stop talking to you, to stop texting you things that remind you of them, to stop making an effort to see you. And if you hadn’t chosen that same path, then you always wonder what you could’ve possibly done to make them choose that.
The unfortunate thing is – most of us don’t realize we make this choice. Excuses are rampant as disguises for it – “it’s been crazy at work” “what time zone are you in again?” when in reality we just haven’t put much thought or planning into the relationship anymore, and we probably never will again.
Sometimes, people are like seasons, sometimes they come back. But most times, once they’re gone, they’re gone forever – so don’t let the good ones go.