When I was 27, I became pro-life. I’ve written about it extensively, so I won’t rehash the story. A year later, I became Catholic. During that year, when I was blogging (via the ancient site known as MySpace) about my new pro-life stance and my faith, two of my best friends in the world – I’ll call them Dave and Nancy – decided not to be friends with me anymore.
I tried to reach out to them. I sent e-mails. I called. I attempted to explain that I loved them, that I didn’t care where we differed, that their friendship meant everything to me.
Dave has deigned to connect with me on Facebook, but he won’t interact with me. Nancy just disappeared from my life.
People have asked me before: what happens if you tell your friends you’re pro-life, and they don’t want to be your friends anymore? If it sounds like a silly question, that’s probably because it hasn’t happened to you, and you’re very lucky.
For those of us who are converts, losing friends is a real possibility. It happens, and it hurts when it happens.
So I decided to write an open letter to those two friends who abandoned me several years ago, in the hopes it might help some of you who are facing similar situations.
Dear Dave and Nancy,
It’s been a long time.
I’d like to start out by apologizing for anything I said to personally upset either of you. I know I’ve said that before. Multiple times. You didn’t respond, but I’m saying it again. I’m passionate about my beliefs, and I can come across a little strong.
If anything I said or did is the reason why you cut me out of your lives, I hope you will forgive me.
That’s the last time I’ll apologize. Now I have some things I’d like to say to you.
Dave, I used to think of you as a brother. I thought I always would. You called me “Krismas” and would go outside to smoke with me no matter how cold it was, even if no one else would. You even came to visit me in San Francisco when I was so poor I had no furniture, and we had to eat pizza sitting on a hardwood floor.
Nancy, I remember defending you to people who would call you a b***h. “Oh, she’s like a mean little puppy,” I would say. “She doesn’t mean anything by it.” When you went OCD and snapped at me about how I held your CDs or “slammed” the door of your precious car, I’d laugh it off. That’s just Nancy, I’d think.
I accepted you both completely, because you were my friends. When my opinions changed about the world and how it worked, beginning with my views on abortion, nothing changed about the fact that I loved you both like family.
I understand that friends grow apart, especially when they’ve known each other since they were 19 and are beginning to approach their late 20s. But we didn’t grow apart. You just left. And that’s not how you treat friends.
I used to be the passionate atheist feminist, and I have no doubt you saw my conversion as a betrayal of all the things that made me Kristen. I guess to you, I wasn’t the same person anymore. You could argue that I was no longer fun to hang out with, but how would you know? Virtually from the time I announced my conversion, I never saw you again.
Thing is, I still have the same soul and the same heart and the same brain. Recognizing the inherent value of all humans made you more precious to me, not less.
The two of you left a huge hole in my life, at a time when I really needed you both.
Friends aren’t always convenient, but they’re always precious. I would never have abandoned you because you were pro-choice atheists. You abandoned me because I became a pro-life Catholic, and never noticed that I was still – and yet remain – Krismas.
If someone asked me today what they should do if they lost a friend for being pro-life, the first thing I would be tempted to say is this: “They were never your friend.”
It’s hard for me to say that, but I have to wonder if our friendship was an illusion. Was I only around because it was convenient and amusing for you, and once I became inconvenient and challenging I got flushed? (Gee, what does that remind you of?)
Dave and Nancy, a part of me will always love you and always miss you. But it’s hard to regret anything. I stayed true to myself, and I stayed loyal. I have excellent reasons for what I believe, and I spoke up about abortion knowing it would mean losing friends. I just never imagined it would be two of my closest.
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Needless to say, I went on with my life. I’ve had a lot of happy times, and made some excellent new friends. But no one can replace you. Like everyone else on earth, you’re irreplaceable.
In closing, I’d just like to say that I have mercilessly examined my every viewpoint and opinion, and I have been utterly honest about what I believe and why, at great personal cost. I don’t know if you can say the same.
Whatever you gained when you lost me as a friend, I hope it was worth it.