Good Friends

I am glad for friends with flaws, not like psychopathic tendencies, larcenous habits, cruel or critical behavior, but flaws that make them empathetic.  It’s good to examine without fear of judgment, not seeking approval, but concern.  Many times I’ve thought, “How could have I have done, said, or acted so badly?  Had I not had someone I could trust, I might have buried that shame, fear, or secret where it would grow like a cancer.  Sharing with a trusted friend gives perspective.  An acknowledged problem is a starting place.

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You Never Know

Battered shoes

Many years ago, I was on an hospital elevator with a minister I knew.  A somber man got on with us.  He looked straight ahead, deep in thought. Attempting to make conversation, the minister said, “Smile, it can’t be that bad.”

The man’s expression never changed.  In a low voice he remarked, “My son just died.”

The minister and I were both shocked.  As he stammered an apology, all three of us burst in to tears.  We hugged the man, offered shocked condolences, and offered to make phone calls for him.  The minister got off and went with him.

I’ve never forgotten, and suspect neither of them has either.  You just never know what a person is dealing with.