A good friend of mine once coined the term “Friend Grave Yard” to refer to friends who for whatever reason were no longer a part of his life. I remember thinking how sad that was for someone to have a graveyard full of used to be friends. But then I started thinking, I have one too. Maybe not for the same reasons but this was definitely something I could relate to!
Marriage and the grave
So what sends a friend to the graveyard? As I’ve reached my mid-twenties in the marriage desperate capital of the world (Lynchburg) I’ve had to watch as one after another after another of my friends has fallen prey to the clutches of marriage. Now anyone who knows me knows I don’t hate on marriage in and of itself: it can (occasionally) be a great life long relationship that benefits both people.
Unfortunately, because of the way most people go into marriage and the numerous misconceptions around it, I would have to say marriage is one of the leading factors that send friends to the grave yard. Nearly all my friends who have gotten married have become less available. This is understandable because (hopefully) you marry your best friend right? Sadly, more often and not marriage becomes an avenue for killing social life (a lazy cuddle on the couch instead of a deep conversation over coffee) and a trap for the weak willed to be controlled by the insecure (aka women who don’t let their men have an independent social life).
Some married friends are happily in the friend nursing home where I can occasionally see them every other weekend and enjoy their company. But sometimes the smells of curfews and the less the homely feeling of marriage social guidelines make those visits less frequent. Other friends are gasping their dying breaths in the nearby friend hospice where occasional glimpses of my still thriving life perhaps give them a bit of joy as they breathe their last.
But those few poor souls who allowed their lives to be completely altered by a passing (often hormonally driven) feeling, I must say I have had to bury them in the graveyard.
Dating and the grave
And what is sad is that it doesn’t take marriage to put friends in the grave yard. I’ve seen 3-4 week relationships ruin a person so bad that they had to be euthanized because the quality of friendship was no longer existent.
It seems that this graveyard has more women in it than men. I wonder if it is because men are insecure about their women having male friends. This would seem true as I have on more than occasion received out of character requests that I no longer contact “taken” female friends. The requests often wreak more of jealous boyfriend than sincere respect for the girl’s lover.
My other thought about the greater number of women than men in the graveyard is this: desperate not to be alone many women develop friendships with the opposite sex with one purpose in mind, getting a mate. If that man submits to that purpose, voilà we have a marriage. If not, “I can’t be your friend if you’re just going to play with my heart” and she falls into the friend grave she dug herself.
Granted mature healthy relationships with the opposite sex are hard. But my culmination of experience, observation, advice from the old and young, the Bible, good books, bad books, culture, sermons, conversations, etc. has led me to believe that the best romantic relationships ALWAYS come from the best friendships. And it seem that a good friendship should develop without the pressure of a committed romantic relationship. (More on that in a later post).
With that concept in mind, the friend grave yard is populated with numerous souls whose emotional desires got the better of them.
Theology and the grave
What’s even more sad is that it doesn’t even take marriage or the desire for it to necessitate the erecting of another tomb stone. One of the most effective friend killers is theological beliefs which oddly are founded (in theory) on the teachings of a very gracious accepting loving man named Jesus Christ.
Whether it is verses taken out of context or the vindictive desire to be absolutely right about something, many Bible savvy used to be friends have fallen to the grave because of hateful rejection of their brother who . . . “well he thought that we shouldn’t condemn gay people so of course we had to follow God’s command and reject him as a heathen”.
Jesus once had a pretty long rant about the self-righteous Pharisees didn’t he? I also recall him forgiving an adulterous woman by calling out religious leaders sins. I think he might have even hung out with OMG sinners and tax-collectors (pot-heads and hippies? Partiers and fornicators? People whose sexual orientation, religious interpretation, personal beliefs, moral systems, career choices, groups of friends, lifestyle choices we don’t agree with?).
Could it be that there holy Christ following friends are falling to the grave for choosing a small tree and ignoring the forest?
The friend graveyard is hard to avoid. You can avoid making one of your friends bury you for sure but it’s hard to avoid having to bury your friends. People will leave your life for one reason or another. My recommendation. Don’t spend a lot of time with old memories and old stones. You can’t resurrect them. Enjoy the reality that still exists around you and work to make it better.