Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Without a Catch

At some point in our lives we all experience change. That mind altering shock, the moment everything we thought within reason goes out the window.

Things we thought were etched in stone are blown away in an instant, like a dandelion hit by a gale force wind. Nothing was as it seemed, and you figure nothing will ever be as it should be. We're on the wheel of fortune, and where it stops nobody knows. You look from side to side frantically, looking for something familiar to grab hold of, something that you can call home.

Do you define a true friend as someone who agrees with you regardless? Someone who slobbers over your ideals to make you happy? What if they disagree?

Ever stop and think about what a true, lifelong friend means? For me, “Without a Catch” creates an image of that elusive person. One whose friendship doesn’t waver with life’s changes of direction, differences of opinion, and lifestyle changes, at least up to a point.

Acquaintances come and go, floating in and out of our lives with the changing winds. A disagreement on this or that, befriending someone who doesn’t meet their criteria, or a number of other life events can turn what we thought to be a close friend into someone we despise, and it can happen overnight. One phone call can do it. And they can turn on you with such a vengeance it’s tough to trust again. It’s just the way some people are, they’re looking for a band of followers or a gaggle of people to agree with everything they believe. They expect it, and won’t accept anything less. Their way or no way. Cross their road on the wrong side and see what happens.

People have a natural tendency, especially kids, to gang up on the dissident. It happens in the animal world; their version is called survival of the fittest. In this case I don’t mean someone who resists authority and paves a new road to travel on, but I’m talking about the one who is singled out, vulnerable, and easy pickings for a group. Riding this wave of popularity isn’t fulfilling; they’ll turn on you at some point too. It seems so cruel looking from afar, but it’s human nature at work.
Games are laid out with a simple pattern for children to understand, but the game playing doesn’t stop with our youth; the results simply become more scornful and vicious as we supposedly mature into adults. The games we played in school had the same basic rules as the ones later on, but with different paths to follow and different lines drawn in the sand. Divisions are created over family wealth, color, background, what school we attended, etc.

We all have parameters we want to stay within. Who we surround ourselves with will have a big effect on how we talk, think, and exist. One bad influence can turn our children into something we never though could happen, and it can be difficult to pull them back. I remember something my grandmother said to my parents years ago, when I wasn’t being the best of kids. She said if you put good things in them, it will come out in the end. I agree that if it’s put in at the critical influential years it will always be there to either guide or condemn us; it’s our choice which path is followed.

Despite this, a true friend stays a friend through good and bad. Love doesn’t come and go like the flip of a light switch, it’s something that saturates our whole being, once it’s there. A true friend may not agree with us or even hang around when we’re bad; we probably cross the boundaries of their convictions and they can’t let us pull them into our pit of despair. Our families need our protection, and this shield may be from the words and influence of a long time friend that has gone astray because of their decisions, changing convictions, or simply a life event that creates a divide. However, the deep seeded love and caring is there, no matter what. And a true friend will be there to help pick us up after our failures. It may be a phone call or a visit away, but he/she will be there to do what can be done, and you know it’s with a caring heart.

A true friend is that special person you would contact if your life was at a crossroads, with dire consequences hanging in the balance; the one you know would offer the best hope and advice, based solely on your well being. And, that doesn’t mean always hearing what you want to hear. Often it won’t be. When we’re under duress we can’t always make rational decisions, but someone who loves us can offer the tough advice that’s needed.

Other times we need a shoulder to lean on, someone who cares enough to be there when we hurt. Someone who cares deeply about our well being, and we know they care, without having to wonder.

We like people because, and love them although.Sort of like comparing acquaintances and true friends.

And, a true friend can keep your secrets. They can’t help you if you’re afraid to reveal to them your vulnerabilities. They can look at you without a blink and you know they know, but it’s okay .And you want them to know things no one else knows. A true friend can learn how we think, if they’re around us enough. And they can sometimes finish a sentence we start, and don’t know how to finish it ourselves. Our words and thoughts need to be created, and put in their proper place. It’s in us, but a true friend can bring it out. They get you, when others don’t.

A true, lifelong friend can often times say a few words and make your heart feel warm, and help put life’s perspectives back in their proper place. And you look forward to hearing their voice, even when you don’t really like what they’re saying. But you still listen.

1 comment:

  1. Wow...powerful words. I've had "true" friends come and go. My truest friend would be my husband. It didn't start out that way, but over these last few years our relationship has evolved into something a thousand times better than how it started. Takes much work and unselfishness.