A while back, I posted a happy little FaceBook status about meeting up with friends who had been “out of pocket” for a while and the lovely lunch I had with the couple.
That, coupled with the recent spate of posts and tweets I’ve seen recently concerning folks who’ve “unfriended” others solely because of their political persuasions led me to pen this blog.
These particular friends of mine are a rare breed of people who live “unfiltered” lives. If something is on their mind, or if they have strong feelings about a subject, political correctness be damned – they’re going to say what they think.
Some would find this honesty off-putting. I frankly find it refreshing. You always know where you stand with them. No sugar coating, no double-speak. Agree or disagree, they are an open book.
As you may well imagine in this day and age, their candor has managed to earn them a fair number of – if not enemies, certainly those who wouldn’t go out of their way to assist them, in both political and judicial circles. Indeed, those unfriendly folk, I’ve sadly discovered, are more than willing to sign on to any negative news without further investigation, to believe the worst and not seek to learn the truth.
For a little backstory, without rehashing and re-litigating the whole mess (and indeed, it was a mess), partly because of some missteps (some explainable, some not), and partly because of some nefarious dealings by a third party, an issue arose that, in my humble opinion, should have been adjudicated far differently. Unfortunately, and because of wholly ineffective legal counsel, evidence that, if not exculpatory should have at least been mitigating in this matter, never came to light.
Instead, not only was my friend branded as a modern day “Cruella DeVille” locally, nationally and internationally, she received death threats and essentially became a pariah. Finally, she was given the bum’s rush in what I perceived to be a sham trial and ended up behind bars. Through a cruel twist of fate, the judicial enemies they had collected years ago were ultimately the difference between freedom and incarceration. Again, in my humble opinion, needlessly.
Even as she was navigating her way through the gawdawful legal morass she’d been thrown into, every single time we communicated, her first thoughts were about my husband’s worsening health, and, after his passing, about my well-being.
Because the case was in litigation, I could not divulge the evidence I’d helped to uncover and watching the spectacle of holier-than-thou vultures circling her was heartbreaking for me. I know it must have been nightmarish for her. And yet, she kept her head high throughout – she never lost the grace and caring that I’d come to admire about her. If anything, seeing her handle all that was being thrown at her made me more certain than ever that I had indeed chosen well when I deemed her and her husband to be my friends.
Here’s my stance, for what it is worth, on friends. I don’t give a rat’s patooty who you voted for;
I could care less about your sexuality, your religious beliefs (or lack thereof);
or even your upbringing or background.
If you treat me with respect, if I find you to be a kind person, a gentle soul, if we have mutual interests, if we have shared experiences, if we like each other – you are a friend.
If you are my friend, I will fight for you, I will support your efforts, I will steadfastly not join in any internet lynch mobs being formed against you, and I will most certainly not walk away from you in your time of need.
And…if you are my friend, you remain my friend until such time as you intentionally set out to hurt me or someone I care about.
Upon my friend’s release, we met up for lunch and were able to enjoy a fabulous afternoon conversing about myriad topics – just as though nothing had happened.
That is what friends do.
It never ceases to delight me when I discover that I can reconnect with friends I haven’t seen for some time (for whatever reason), and we can pick up right where we left off – never missing a beat in that most treasured gift of friendship.
One of my favorite quotations is “A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words”.
I hope to always be able to sing the songs in the hearts of my friends back to them – for I know, I truly know that they will remember mine.