Have you ever experienced a day which was both incredibly eye-opening and devastatingly depressing all rolled together? Yesterday was one such day for me. I am still reeling, chest tightening with every breath, exhausted from the emotions of it, yet almost … free from the weight I had no idea it was creating upon my shoulders.
Not to death, but still, I am quite certain, for life.
This young man has been a part of my life for nearly 8 years. I watched him struggle through high school and we chatted frequently due to a shared interest in musical theatre. When he came out of the closet to his family, I supported him because he needed someone in his corner. It didn’t matter what I felt about homosexuality. (I am not really certain what I feel about “it” at all … but I do believe it is not a life most choose, but one which they are born into, which means, I have no right to judge it at all, no matter what years of religious education have taught me.) This young boy needed a person he could talk to who would just let him be HIM and let him sound off without fear that it was going to end up back in the ears of his extremely religious family.
I continued to be that person after he dropped out of high school and moved to the city to follow his dreams. Whatever drama came about, young “Joe” would call to bounce it off me. I tried to remain outside of it, but there were times I admittedly overstepped my boundaries. I have been much maligned and hated by many members of this particular family for my refusal to try and change Joe as they thought he needed changing. His Grandmother has called me pretty much every name in the book, but I have refused to be anything other than a friend to this poor child. (He is now an adult, but in my mind he will always be that little boy lost.)
Joe and I have discussed politics. He knows why I am a conservative. He knows that I believe social issues such as gay marriage and abortion are state level issues and should not be discussed at a national level. He knows exactly why I voted for Romney and would again, in a heartbeat. He understands, or so I thought, why I feel that Barrack Obama is the worst thing to happen to the United States since … well, I can’t think of anything worse in my 43 years. Joe voted for Obama because he was afraid that Romney would take away his right to marry someday. I argued that it would not matter, for if this country is weak and becomes over run by those countries which seek to destroy us (Muslim nations, China, etc.) there would be no such things as “Rights”.
I still hold to that ideal. I think this country is headed down a path to socialism and I think it is the wrong path. That is my belief and whomever is the current president, I will continue to do everything in my power to make that not happen. Obviously, my vote did not matter … but my voice still can. So I decided that I would simply post quotes each day about what Socialism is on my little Facebook page. Nothing crazy, just reliable quotes to keep people thinking. I also have tried to keep the Benghazi scandal, and I am NOT talking about the sex scandal portion, alive. I think there is much to be answered for in regards to those who were killed while our nation’s leaders watched from a distance. I don’t want my friends and family to forget there are still many unanswered questions in regards to that.
Those 2 things, a daily Socialism quote and a few (maybe 2?) posts about Benghazi prompted Joe to “unfriend” me on Facebook and tell me that I have become too negative for his world. I have become too much “like his Grandmother”.
Let me state right here that I think it is a sorry state of affairs that “unfriending” someone on Facebook can become such a major issue. It is quite pathetic, actually. And I am ashamed that I allowed this act by a young boy hurt me so deeply. I felt like a teenager again, getting a note passed to me in class that my friend can’t sit next to me at lunch anymore because I didn’t wear the right brand of jeans that day. I reacted like a teenager, as well. “Fine, we are through”. Kaput, over, done. Some arguing, some texting, lots of crying. One night of lost sleep. 2 cinnamon rolls at breakfast.
Oy vey, right back to the 10th grade.
I awoke feeling incredibly sad, but also somewhat relieved. I have spent a lot of time over the past 8 years just biting my tongue with Joe. I have learnt from his dealings with others, that if you choose to disagree with him, he most often will write you off and then say some pretty awful things about you behind your back. I had earned the right to gently, oh so very gently, disagree with him. I had to work out every word before it was spoken, trying to guide him, to help him see both sides of the argument, to stop him from flouncing off and burning bridges at every pass. I knew that I was one of the few religious people left in his life (and I am most certainly one of the least religious people you will ever meet …) and I wanted to maintain that tremulous thread in order that he would have someone he still trusted that was a believer in God.
Quite honestly, I have never asked Joe for anything. When my Dad died, I did not lean on him. When I struggled with depression for 2 years, I chose not share with him the dirty details of my daily struggle to stay alive. The day after I broke my leg, I took him out for lunch on MY birthday (it’s OK to laugh here, it was meant to be funny.) Joe says that he couldn’t be there for me because I didn’t ever let him in.
But what I did not tell him, is that I did not let him in because I did not trust him. I knew that the day would come when he would denounce me and I did not want to supply him with a load of hurtful things to say about me, behind my back. I always knew that someday, I would be on the receiving end of his wrath, because I did NOT agree with everything he said and eventually, something would bring it all floating to the top.
So today I am sad, because I lost a friend, someone I loved dearly is gone from my life, most likely for good. But I am also relieved because it was exhausting guarding every word and giving up nothing of myself in order to be a support for him.
“True friends stab you in the front” ~Oscar Wilde~