Up until 4-5 years ago I had a lot of friends. Good friends, dear friends, people I loved dearly. If I was struggling with something I could bounce it off them, knowing they would understand, and that they would not judge.
I don't really have that anymore. It's my fault really. And it's the risk I knew I took when I decided to pursue principle over comfort. I'll spare you the details and this blog is anything but a pity party. It's a simple acknowledgement of what happens when you turn away from everything on which you frame your life.
My Christian friends are the finest people. Better than I, and better than they know themselves. To turn away from my faith was always going to mean distancing myself; again my decision. Having decided to leave the party it's rarely good form to hang around. It wasn't that I wanted to leave the people I'd grown to love and respect, but rather a need I had to make the cleanest possible break. I knew also that my rejection of the things they cherished would make for some awkwardness, and it was not my desire to subject them to that. You see, the problem with me is that I say what I feel, my heart is on my sleeve, and to remain in situ would have been fraudulent and dishonest. More than that, having rejected the pillars of belief how could I operate in a realm in which those self same pillars were the rock on which many lives were built?
So I distanced myself. I had no idea what came after. There had been no exit strategy; I just knew I couldn't do it any more.
These days I'm a more solitary creature. Of course I have a family and one or two close friends, but I'd be lying if I denied that a gap didn't exist. I'm sometimes subject to an inner loneliness, even when around others. I don't always feel I connect as I used to. I don't know why? My professional life also means I inhabit a strange kind of netherworld that seems to fall between two stools. Anyway, I guess what I want to say is that I chose my road, and the consequences are the result of those choices. If I'm honest, I'd love to form deeper friendships; the kind where you talk into the early hours, challenge and encourage, laugh and bemoan. Those experiences are few and far between, and I miss them so very much. Still, in so many other ways my cup runs over. Two beautiful daughters, a wife who's far too good for me, a family that accept me for who I am. I'm neither poor nor hungry, there's a roof above my head and I've got a great job. Funny how we're rarely satisfied isn't it? We can always find gaps in our drive for the perfect life, which of course is perfectly unattainable. My greatest strength and my achilles heel are one and the same; my need to pursue what is true, my addiction to knowing how the world really is. I don't expect this will ever change, and despite the empty space where I want close friendship to be I would do the same all over again.