Today happens to be rather bittersweet for me as it marks the anniversary of the death of a friendship. Through my adventures in politics I have met a multitude of people, some of whom I have had the honor of calling friends. I discovered this particular person about six years ago or so. Over the years we had many adventures together, we talked about politics, we ate together, we sang karaoke together (if you can imagine that!), we even celebrated our birthdays together as they were only a few days a part. However, if you want to know what people truly think of you, try running for public office.
Unfortunately, when I ran for office back in 2014, I ended up losing several people I considered my friends as they publicly opposed my candidacy, backed my opponents, and some were downright nasty. During the campaign season I was visiting one of my other friends when she got a knock on the door. After discovering it concerned politics (a subject which doesn’t really interest her) she called me to the door. Imagine my surprise when I found this now former friend out campaigning door-to-door with two of my opponents. It was a moment that breaks one’s heart. However, I consoled myself that it was just politics and I shouldn’t let this one campaign, even though it was my own, ruin a multi-year friendship.
Therefore, when in January of last year I was invited to meet a nationally known Republican politician, I invited this friend to join me on the adventure, which she did. It took some time to get to our destination and the trip was fairly uneventful. Unfortunately, although the organizers of the event had promised us one-on-one time with the official, we were only given the slightest of moments to say hello and snap a photo. When we returned back to Harrisonburg, this friend posted the photo of the two of us with this elected official…well, sort of. One third of the picture was missing and I had been cropped out. I asked why this had been done and was told that this friend was seeking a position within her party and she worried that being seen with me would hurt her political ambitions.
That move reminded of another event which took place several years earlier. At that time I was fully smitten by a woman who I supposed you would say was the “Yer Jalan Atthirari Anni“. One day she held a party and invited her family, a handful of her closest friends, and me, perhaps about eight of us in all. After the event, she posted a multitude of photos of the day on Facebook. Unfortunately, I noticed, much to my dismay, I was in none of them. I asked her why I had been excluded, but she didn’t really offer an answer. It was an exceedingly painful truth to realize that I was little more than her “dirty little secret“, to be used and discarded whenever I proved valuable to her.
Although I am in no way comparing myself to Jesus, these experiences made me think of a Bible verse. In Luke 9:26 Jesus says, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” (NLT). I have friends who are Republicans. I have friends who are Democrats. I have friends who are Libertarians. I have friends who are apolitical. I have friends who are Christians. I have friends who are atheists. I have friends who are gay. I have friends who are straight. I have friends who are white. I have friends who are black. I have friends who are women. I have friends who are men. I have friends who are rich and I have friends who are poor. Do some of these people annoy me from time to time? Of course, such is the nature of humanity. Do I agree with them all of the time? It is impossible. But, I would not be ashamed for the world to know that any of these people are my friends. If I were to treat any of them in this fashion, I do not believe that I could rightly call them a friend.
It is unfortunate that sometimes we are so caught up in ourselves and fail to reflect upon how our actions could negatively impact others, especially those we call our friends. Although I try to act differently, I’m sure that I’m likely as guilty of this transgression as anyone. If I’ve insulted a friend I hope someone would let me know for I hate to mourn the death of a friendship.