So I spent some time tonight talking to some old friends. Peter and Chris. I hadn't talked to Peter since 2003, and Chris for a while, at least not in the capacity we used to talk. Peter was my best friend from elementary school through high school. I betrayed him. It had been weighing on my conscience for quite some time. It made me sad that I had pretty much given up such a good friend.
I struck up an IM with Chris, and we talked a little, and I asked him if he had Peter's cell phone. Also, if Peter hated me. Peter was hurt by me, Chris said, but he thought I should call him. So in fear of the worst, I called him up. Yeah, it was late in Ann Arbor, but if I knew my friend Pete, he'd be awake anyway.
Three rings, and he answered. I didn't really know what to say, something like
hi, this is your old friend Phil, whom you hate. So I asked him if it was Peter, and I said
This is Phil.
So I started my apology.
It's been a long time since we've talked, and I'd just like to apologize for how I hurt you back in high school, and how I haven't kept in touch.
Oh, it's ok, don't worry about that. I guess I hadn't really talked to him because I was afraid that he was still really upset with me. It seemed like since senior year of high school we hadn't really connected like we had before. The strange thing that happened then was an apology from him.
I was thinking about how I treated you guys when we were kids. I was abusive, really, and I'm sorry. Wow. Never really thought of it that way, it always seemed like I was a worse friend than he was. He was the nicer friend.
I couldn't help but forgive him for that. We were friends since elementary school. There was too much history to keep a grudge. We built forts in my yard. We dug holes in Ryan's backyard. We rode bikes downtown. We got in car crashes, fights, arguments. Rode around on scooters. Tore down broken tree limbs after an ice storm. Burned countless tons of slash in my back yard. We were kids. We were friends since elementary school.
So we caught up a little with one anothers' lives. I told him about Mandy. Apparently there is a rumor floating around my old group of friends that I'm engaged. I blame Michelle. In high school Peter started smoking marijuana. And most of our friends started doing it too. I think this kind of caused me to think I was better than them. Here was a good little christian kid, looking down his nose at his friends, not trying to help them, not trying to stop them, just abstaining, feeling proud. What a deluded fool. I was no good christian, I just didn't smoke or drink. So now he's stopped smoking pot. I think he's matured quite a bit. He has always had the ability to do what he wanted, but I think now he's moving forward with his life.
I think I've matured as well. I try not to look down on people because they do seemingly immoral things; I know that I am immoral as well, to the highest degree. I know what depression is now. Now that I've experienced it, and some times fall back into. I understand the derision they feel for the short-sighted self-righteous super-christian. I am more self-aware. I can relate to people better now. I just wish I had learned earlier.
Chris and I were talking about how I haven't talked to him for a long while. I know. He was hurt by it. Seems like that's a theme huh? But we talked for a long while about music, about life, school, love, me not being engaged, friends. For some reason it seems like a lot of our friends go through depression. Maybe it's not just relegated to our group of friends, but man, it sure seems like it. I hope we can talk about such things together.
We're just trying to make amends with my old friends. These people I grew up with, the ones that I know the ins and outs of their houses. The ones we have scars from. The lies, the cheats, the over-active imaginations. The betrayals, the abuses, the hurt, the pain, the burden of our past. The atonement, the freedom, the forgiveness, the healing. God, it feels like I'm becoming who I really was supposed to be.
I guess I had to be a deluded christian to realize that that wasn't the way, I had to be an asshole to know I hurt people. Maybe I can not be ashamed of my past now, maybe actually live my life. I'm truly glad I have my friends back. It would be a tradgic waste for us to stop being friends.
So in June, I'm going back to Ann Arbor, and hopefully we can all get together to hang out, maybe have a couple beers, couple of laughs, be together again. Let old wounds be healed, old friends be fast.