A FEW THOUGHTS ON FRIENDSHIP…
In my lifetime I have been asked again and again how I could possibly remain friends with this person or that person. People say…”But they have said unkind things about you, or Jerry, or possibly about one of your children.”
I believe remaining friends with someone isn’t a “you get one shot” kind of deal. If I have chosen you for my friend, then I saw something in you that I liked or admired. I have many friends that might surprise some people…they may have been in and out of several bad marriages, they may have been neglectful parents, maybe they are not Christians, I have several friends who definitely do not see eye to eye with me regarding my political views. I even have friends who have spent time in jail and even prison. I have black friends and white friends, gay friends and straight ones…friends from a very low poverty level and friends who own mansions on Ono Island. I have friends who never remember my birthday and friends who criticize many of the choices I make. But you know what??? Those same friends, I feel very certain, would jump in their car and drive across the state to pick me up if I was broken down and stranded without a way home.
I know one lady, in particular, that has pushed me to the point of wanting to smack her upside her pretty little head on more than one occasion. She has criticized me, my family, my religious beliefs, my political views, my children, and yes, even my lack of proper etiquette. And yet, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she would go to the moon and back for me and my family if I asked her too…because that is who she is at her very core.
Interestingly enough, I have been questioned by many people as to why we remain friends. Those same people had written her off as a negative force that they didn’t want or have further need of in their lives. And I told them…when asked why we chose to stay on a friendly basis with her…that the reason was that I knew that at her very core was a good person…a person that just was most likely a product of her situation. She has had a lot of bad things happen in her life, and I do mean some terribly sad things…and doesn’t that affect us all? It has to, in some small way. Yes, we can choose to not let ourselves become negative or hateful, but it sometimes is just who we are. I don’t think she means to hurt people with her sometimes ill-natured comments, or to push these people out of her life. It is just that she doesn’t know how to be anything but painfully honest. I believe that is what drives her…honestly. And what we have to understand as a society is that just because her ideas and views may not be ours, that doesn’t make her wrong…it just makes her different from you and me. There are many issues we agree on wholeheartedly…and I am always thankful for those moments we share a common view…because it re-enforces our few similarities.
I had a good friend once say that if two friends, or spouses, are exactly alike, than one of them would simply not be necessary. I always liked that.
And now, here is the interesting part to me.
Many of those people who had “pushed” her out of their lives have suddenly decided to give her friendship another chance. Why? Because they finally became aware of her incredible ability to be there for them when they needed her help. And be there she is…at every turn. She has helped them achieve many of their goals simply by putting them in contact with the right person or people. She has helped them through trying situations when they knew she had the knowledge to get them situated and up and moving. She has blessed them…
I can only hope that these people are there for her and returning the favor in some small way...even if it is to send her a gift card, or take her to lunch, or just to bake her a cake and deliver it in person. Bless her with some small token of their appreciation. Because that is how we keep friends. By acknowledging what they have done for us…when they didn’t have to. By realizing they simply did so because they wanted to be of help…because at their very core, that is who they truly are. Caring people. So what if they have a rough exterior…so what if they can’t hold their tongue when they sometimes should. In the long run…it’s about being true to yourself…and her true self may be a bit rough around the edges…but soft as jelly on the inside.
I’ll take that any day.