I’m reminded today of the decision to become involved in Prince Charming’s life as a friend.
Normally, that’s not really something that’s required with
friendships… but in this case, it was.
Prince Charming is, well, charming. One area that we are about opposites. He has a real gift for connecting with people… give him 5 minutes, and even wait staff at a busy place will be his new buddies and remember us the minute we walk in a month later…. down to the movie we were going to see after dinner.
I’d met him the very first day that I went in to the new job to fill out paperwork, but I didn’t really talk to him much during training… but he was one of the people who was everyone’s friend… one of the most popular guys in the class… one of the group who hung out together after work and always seemed to be tight.
I’d been having a really rough time with the sales pushing aspect of the job, and was pretty miserable.
After training, he was one of the people who always sat in the same spot, whereas I usually bounced around quite a bit, but mainly stayed in a different area of the room. But one day, they were shuffling things around for some reason, and Prince Charming moved to the opposite side of the room, and sat next to me.
Several of the previous days in the past week had actually been bad enough that I’d made a trip to the bathroom in tears. But in spite of how awful the job was going, that day, he made me laugh… and made the day go by much easier.
So things shuffled again… and he moved back to his usual location… and I decided in my location bouncing to go sit over by him.
Initially it was because he made my day better being around him… mainly by making me laugh.
But soon I found myself drawn to him as a friend because he was one of very few people who was willing to admit that he was struggling with the job and that the sales aspects of the job sucked…. while many other people were also floundering but still going on about how amazing things were. He was someone who I could tell that I was starting to really hate the job, and have him not give me the same sort of “shame on you for saying that” look I was getting from others… because he was feeling the same way while trying to “pay his dues” to get moved to the department more applicable to his training.
I started sitting by him frequently… but I kind of started to wonder if I was just bugging him… so one day when I had arrived early I sat in an area across from where he usually sat… and was happily surprised when he came over to sit next to me over there.
I’d normally been leaving for lunch, but had started bringing my lunch, and he started sitting by me at lunch at lot of the time too…. even though he had tons of other buddies within our class.
We’d initially started talking on work related topics… but gradually I was getting to know more about some of the rough stuff he had going on in his life.
But one day, somewhat out of the blue…. he pretty abruptly told me that he felt like his life was completely hopeless.
It threw me off… and I don’t remember my response, but I remember it was pretty lame.
But it also triggered my instinct to flee.
I’ve had way too many rounds with people with drama to have any sort of a rescue response left. Been there, done that, too many rounds.
The analogy I like to use on drama is a tornado… you can see it coming, and give as much warning as you can, but there’s not a thing you are going to be able to do beyond that but just keep yourself as much out of the way as possible and help pick up the rubble
I had more than enough people in my life with issues.. and sure didn’t need another…. and I was just beginning to see the extent to which the rough spell of his life reached enough to know that I really didn’t need that.
So that night… I’d been praying for him, which had become a regular thing, but it then moved into praying about him… no longer about resolving his situations but about what to do about him. I was very much enjoying his friendship… but I knew he had a ton of other friends… and him being in my circle of friends was starting to hint that it may be inviting chaos along with the benefits.
And almost immediately…. I got one of the strongest spirit nudges I’ve had in my life… one of those rare times that there was a completely clear mental image…
It was the image of a father holding a jammie-clad son in his arms, sitting on his bed, and a strong, firm whisper… saying “It’s just a thunderstorm.”
With my tornado analogy, it made complete sense immediately. It was just an instant knowledge that this may look like a scary mess… but its not as bad as it looks and it will blow over. There will be some damage, but it won’t be catastrophic. It will be over, the calm will come, and the sun will shine here again.
It’s a reassurance I’ve found myself leaning on many times since then.
I processed it for quite a while… but the one thing it was lacking was a firm push to go into it. Yes, it may just be a thunderstorm… but storms still aren’t the most pleasant thing to weather when you don’t have to.
So I still wasn’t all that sure. Maybe keep a bit of a distance while it blew over, knowing that it would?
And some time later, as I lie there considering what my steps should be in the situation… asking them to be led… there came the second nudge.
This time, my mind came back to right after I’d started the job…. when I was really frustrated that two of my closest local friends really didn’t seem interested in working around my new schedule to keep in contact, and was realizing how much less I mattered in their large group of friends than they mattered in my small one.
It was a distinct memory of praying a request for new friends… and in particular, for friends that it made a difference in their lives whether or not I was in it.
And with the memory came the simple phrase… “You asked.”
It still had no push behind it…. it was just sort of a soft reminder… that it had actually only been a few weeks earlier that I’d been asking for someone who would care that I was in their life.
I’d sort of expected that to be someone else who kept a small circle of close friends… not someone with a risk of being needy… something I quickly clarified!
But I really hadn’t specified. I’d just asked for someone who it actually made a difference to them that I was their friend. He was right, I’d asked… now it was my choice to decide if I really actually wanted it.
There was still no feeling of yes or no to it…. no push towards a certain answer.. it was still open to my decision either way.
I made the decison that I could handle a bit of wind and rain for a while… knowing it would not last forever, and knowing it would not result in standing in the middle of a pile of debris.
There have been gusts… some bigger than others…. a few with some major force behind them… but overall actually a lot fewer than I expected.
But I haven’t regretted that decision. And still don’t.