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“You still call him your friend?”

July 10, 2023

Jim got a call from our neighbors on Friday morning, someone was breaking into our home. By the time Jim made it home our neighbor’s son had confronted him and he had left. But we came home to a mess. The window A/C unit was pulled out and laying on the ground, a number of things were destroyed. He had taken the garden hose and sprayed our living room, he had gone through every room and took insignificant things and threw them around the outside.

We were angry and sad, and frustrated and hurt and thankful all at the same time. Our neighbor across the street saw it happen and videoed it, then called her husband who called our next door neighbor who called us! It is good to live among neighbors who care. The man is a friend of ours and Jim had worked with him before. Then the man went back on drugs and became a different person. He had come by the house just a couple of days prior to talk to Jim, but Jim was already at work. He said he would come back. Friday morning he did.

As we were dealing with cleaning up the mess and processing through we had time to think about this all. Both of us work in non profit work and some of our friends are struggling with life choices. We get to meet amazing people with gifts and passions and abilities that keep us in awe. Sometimes the same people struggle with past experiences, with addictions that keep them being pulled back into a different world. We get to see the highs and lows of people as they grow and become stronger.

We had people ask if we still call him a friend and I had to think hard about that question.

Is a person only a friend when things go well? When they live up to our expectations? When they do the right things? Or are they still friends when they struggle, break into your house, use drugs, abuse your trust, and don’t live up to their potential?

Last week I also ran into a former employee of mine who came to us when he wanted to turn over a new leaf. He now has a full time job, his kids are well, his new wife cares deeply for him. He was not always perfect, but seeing him break the chain of crime is amazing and I am thankful that we are friends, even when things were not always perfect.

I hope that I will have friends when I mess up, when things in my life unravel, when my decisions don’t always make sense. I hope that I still have people who care enough to call me friend.

I need people in my life who will still be there when I struggle and when I don’t do things right. I need people who set their own boundaries of course, but don’t drop me because I wrestle with things.

What about you?

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