Monday, July 06, 2009

More thoughts about friendship.

7/5/09 Sunday
I woke up with the thoughts about friendship still on my mind. These thoughts are evolving as I ponder them, delve deeper into the concept of friendship. A lot of this depends on what your definition of a friend is. Back in the day I would espouse on what I thought about that. “There are acquaintances, friends, and brothers” I would say and explain. Acquaintances are people you know but don’t necessarily trust, those you hang out with but couldn’t depend on when in need. Friends are the ones who would go out of their way for you and wouldn’t stab you in the back. Brothers are the ones who would stand back to back with you with guns and knives drawn, willing to put their life on the line with you. There is a depth of connection there that exceeds everything else. It is the comradeship that you find with our veterans of war, those who knew their life was in the hands of the other and theirs in yours.

This I had but it wasn’t in Vietnam because I fixed B-52’s and never got shot at. It was during the biker days when there were gun battles and fights in bars and those who were more than willing to kill. When I said I never had friends it wasn’t really accurate. I did but they were in the bars and on the streets. Some of them were the ones who responded when ABC ran their “Toledo’s John Doe” program on me. I used to explain that I had friends but couldn’t remember who they were. And I did. They helped get me off the street when I was wandering homeless with my severely damaged mind and amnesia. I guess this further illustrates the confusion I often live with, that as I think things through I realize an error or twist in my thinking.

But these were friends by common habits. If I stopped drinking they would stop hanging around. Adding to the equation is the fair weather aspect. They all would tell you that they would be there but when an acid test of adversity came it would show their true colors. Only then would you know for sure.

So this is a concept I struggle with as I try to determine how I believe. On the other hand is the Christian arena. Here you find a whole system of morality that is different from the other world I lived in. When I was a pastor, in the ministry, I served others. There I found a true friend, Ron Charles. We talked long into the night about life and personal thoughts and issues. We trusted each other enough to reveal deep things of the soul. Ron is still a friend but the divorce from Cherie back in 85 and my subsequent fall from the faith put a separation between us and we lost all touch. Now he travels the world as a minister of the gospel so there is no time to get close again.

What it boils down to is trust, and it’s hard for me to trust after the life I lived. Plus I can’t trust myself to not say the wrong things so am always worried I have offended someone. Part of that is because I often do. Saying the wrong thing and not comprehending it’s wrong is a common problem with TBI. This is why it’s good for people to talk to me, to explain when I offend them. Here is where I depend on Christians to be Christian, to forgive and understand. Because of all this I try to explain things and this is what I wanted to convey when I talked to my friend Saturday. I suspect I do more harm than good.

One of the things I need to realize is that not everyone can be your friend, at least not on the close personal level. That requires a lot of time to develop and time is the thing folks often have the least to spare.

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