The latest round of rejections had honestly left me in a tailspin. These were friends that I had always thought would be in my life. We had been through so much together, and I had years of wonderful and fun memories stored in my brain. At one time, those memories had been a source of joy for me, but now, they were like ghosts who haunted me. Everyday things could trigger a past memory, and while the pain of rejection was so fresh, I didn’t want those past memories, because they reminded me of what I had lost.
I just didn’t understand why it had happened again. The story of my life. Close friends for a season, but never lifelong friends who knew my history and my story. I was tired of starting over with people. Like Rugby, I wondered why I didn’t have forever friends who would stick by me through thick and thin. I understood his confusion and frustration over being forced to adapt to a new family, when he might have still wanted his last one. I didn’t want new friends; I just wanted what I had lost.
Making things more difficult, I had moved to a new area, and didn’t know anyone, didn’t know the lay of the land, and was having a tough time finding a job. It felt like insult to the injury. Everything in my life was “new,” and what I think I really wanted, was just something that felt familiar and comfortable. I wanted things to be the way they had been before the split, but I knew that couldn’t and wouldn’t happen again.
I stayed “stuck” for a while as I sorted all of it out. I went through the stages of grief and loss…denial, anger, sadness, depression…I felt it all, and by the time Rugby came into my life, two years after the rejection, things were starting to look up a bit and I was finally ready to start moving forward into acceptance. I was accepting that things were what they were, and I couldn’t change anything or anyone except myself.
One of the reasons that I think friendships struggle is because of expectations we put on one another. We often have subtle things that we “expect” of the other person, and when they don’t deliver what we expect, we feel hurt and disappointment. I had been very hurt and disappointed by the actions of others, and I was processing how I needed to do things differently going forward in life. My mantra had become, “It is what it is,” and for the first time in my life, I felt cynical. Everything in my foundation, it seemed, had been shaken by this rejection.
One of the biggest things I was struggling with was a sense of not being “good enough” to be wanted by others. I started thinking that a dog might be the perfect solution for me. It’s a rare occurrence for me to meet a dog who doesn’t love me, and dogs generally greet me with unbounded enthusiasm. I’ve never yet had a dog tell me I wasn’t good enough, and I think I was ready to just have a friend who didn’t put any expectations on me.
However, I had no idea that God was about to send me the most wonderful friend wrapped up in soft, speckled fur from head to toe. God knew just what I needed to help me over the hump of my tailspin, and that help came in the form of a speckled puppy who was a hot mess…just like me. He was about to teach me more about myself and life than I ever imagined. The adventure was just beginning….