The Work of Healing

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The auction has begun in earnest. Two paintings have no bids yet, though. You could grab them for $40! Bid here.
You’ll find my friendship post first. Scroll to the bottom for the auction and art news.

Healing a friendship is something that takes considerable time, not just to do the work but to consider if the work is worth doing. Below you’ll find three questions that help you carefully weigh the cost of this investment. These questions will also help you begin to heal with any friend.

Question 1 – What do I miss?

When we lived in Steamboat, we had a neighbor who invited us over to swim. When took them up on the offer, this family changed their mind. They offered us cookies after conversations on the road, but they didn’t like our plans to improve the steep road to our driveway. In home owner association meetings they told us we lived in a dangerous spot and we ought to move rather than expect their association to give us permission to improve the road (even if we carried the cost). Nevertheless, their family would take over our road for sledding in the winter, without asking permission. Their family would snowshoe on our land, without asking permission.

We interacted with this family over a decade while we lived in Steamboat Springs. And I haven’t been interested in healing this friendship. I have worked on asking God to heal me so as not to be bitter. I asked God to help me learn how to pray for them. But I don’t miss anything about this family. This is a huge indicator that the effort is not worth your time.

When you don’t miss a friend, when their absence signals relief and peace, it may not be necessary to heal that friendship.

Question 2 – Why do I want to reconnect?

Five years into my marriage with Dale, I lost a close friend. We had been very close, but due to several life changes, we fell apart. The best evidence I have is when she got married, she didn’t invite me to the wedding. Later, I found out she didn’t think I’d want to go. This indicates how far apart we had fallen. But at the time, I heard about her wedding, looked up her registry and found a kitchen aid mixer to send as a wedding present. I wanted to put some deeds to my sadness that I really did miss her. 

I missed cooking with her and talking about ideas in my kitchen. I missed the memories we could share and process over our college years. I missed that she was one of the few people who knew my previous fiancé and knew how good Dale was for me. I missed her reliability and her kind and faithful care. I missed her notes and the way she could wrap words around my experiences.

I wanted to reconnect to her. It took about ten years, but we did the work of healing. But it began because I wanted to connect to her, to hear her side of things over those hard years, too. That interest in the other person is part of the healthy desire for healing. Wanting to connect just to “say your piece” or “put them in their place” or “air out the past” is not really enough to heal a friendship. And now, we are now friends again. We can call and have conversations about our lives right now, not just the past pain. My reasons for reconnecting were connected to who she was, not just who I wanted her to be. I wanted to connect for her sake as well, to serve and listen and be a part of her life now.

Do you have a friend you miss? See if you can write out what you miss about them. If the list is accurate to who this person actually is, then it may be worth the work to try to heal your friendship.

And that leads me to the next question.

Question 3 – What broke?

With this friend, let’s call her Y (not her real name), I knew precisely what broke. I could state it in one sentence. This took a lot of time to figure out. Lots of journaling and processing. I also knew what had not broken. 

Just like with a broken bone, you must be able to point to the fracture. And you better be right because there’s not friendship doctor who will gently correct you and move your bandage.  You cannot heal your arm by wearing a neck brace. And you cannot heal a friendship if you are ignorant of what broke between you. I cannot forgive or be forgiven unless I can state the broken places (read more about that important process here).  

Perhaps most important, I could state how I had broken our friendship and ask forgiveness. And she could state to me how she had broken our friendship and ask forgiveness. Wrapping words around the pain gave us both assurance that we understood each other. Not all friends can or should do this. But verbally articulate, word-loving, female friends should. (Raising boys I have seen that the way guys process pain and their emotions. It is unique and should be honored, not criticized for being distinct from women. One way men work through their healing is through non-verbal, often short acknowledgments: a simple admission of what went wrong then eye contact and a handshake, a punch on the shoulder, joking, even a simple “That’s ok, dude” can be enough).

Next week, the final and most important question for healing.

The Friendship Posts

 

Expecting Better Friendships: Friendship Fountain, Sorting Friendships and Downsizing Friendships
What is a Friend: Balloon Friends, Companions, It is Good You Exist
The Pace of Friendship: Walk with Me, Return the Volley, Trains and Rollercoasters
Growing Friendships: Friends and Flowers, Growing a Friendship, Weeding a Friendship
Healing a Friendship: Forgiveness, The Work of Healing, The Crucial Question 

My auction for my friend with four different original paintings will run until this Friday 5/13/22 at 9pm ET. Learn about the reason for raising money for this single mother, the power you can have to help someone and choose a piece of art right here. So far, we have two painting with no bids! Comment at this post to add your bid.

I’m pleased to announce that my painting “Exeter Rooftops” was awarded “Best in Show” by the Seacoast Artist’s Association for their monthly theme show “Peace and Quiet” for May 2022.  This is my first “Best in Show” award and I’m delighted to be honored by our new town in New Hampshire. Let me share a little of the backstory  in the Artist’s Note (below or to the right).

 

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It was these snowy roofs that captured me one afternoon.

I painted the original study near the beginning of February, 2022. It was one of my first paintings of Exeter where I caught that wonderful sunset light on the snowy rooftops. I saw the light and rooftops out my studio window and dropped all my plans to sketch a tiny (3 x 4″) landscape painting. It was fairly far away (even the zoomed in picture shows how many trees I was looking through), but it was enough. I ended up with a messy but inspiring little sketch.

I had enough to try to paint it again. This painting provided enough information to reproduce the colors of those soft pinks and blues. I wanted to focus on the stair steps of the snowy rooftops so I painted another mini landscape. You can see the mini landscape next to the yellow pencil.

Months later, I painted this larger size from the tiny studies. You can see the process of slowly bringing it together in the pictures. Even though “Exeter Rooftops” is a lot larger (11 x 15″), I think the original plein air study set the tone for this calm, wintry scene.

You can purchase prints of this piece in my shop. If you live locally, you can join me for the artist’s reception this Friday 5/13 5-7pm at the Seacoast’s Artist’s Association on Water Street in the town of Exeter. My piece will be on display through May.

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