Everyone endures some type of hardship in life, whether it’s financial, health related, family, employment, a lack of toilet paper, something. I’ve had my share. But one thing I try to keep in the forefront of my mind is that every cloud has a silver lining. Yes, that is a generic cliche that probably doesn’t mean much to people nowadays, but that doesn’t make it untrue. There is always a lesson to be gleaned from a difficult situation, even if you don’t realize it until after the storm has passed overhead.
Case in point: A series of misfortunes I had over the last few years have caused me to shed a few friendships and acquaintances. Back in the day I would beat myself up over the loss of a loved one in my time of need. Was I not good enough? Was I not worthy of friendship? Is my personal storm beginning to rain in other yards? What could I possibly do to bring those failed relationships back to where they were before things went south?
If you can’t tell by now, I take friendships and rejection very seriously.
Perhaps a little too seriously. See, As I began to notice all the people falling out of my inner circle I also started to notice all the ones who were still there. To this day I have people in my corner I never thought would even give me the time of day. The bonds are stronger than they used to be, and our relationships are progressing.
That’s when I noticed the difference between the faithful and the fickle.
It should be common knowledge by now, but not everyone who says they are supportive of you are. Not everyone who says they will stand with you through the good times and bad will. Not everyone will be happy when your clouds finally pass over and the sun begins to shine on you. It’s a fact of life. Some people just don’t mean you any good.
It’s a lesson we all learn the hard way. I learned my lesson several times over, in fact. In the midst of my “education,” I realized that it was during my difficult times that people began to fall off. Once the ground around the relationship began to churn and become disrupted, so did the friendship. Those fickle people couldn’t or wouldn’t stand with me as I went through. Hell, half of them had a firm hand in putting me in those predicaments in the first place. As soon as the wind blew — whoosh! — they were no where to be seen.
And then there’s the faithful. Yes, faithful people still exist. Those who were committed to our relationship, no matter what it was, worked with me during difficult times. They encouraged me, prayed with me, made me laugh, didn’t run off. They didn’t expect me to be perfect and understood that life would throw an occasional curve ball. They didn’t flutter off whenever the wind blew. No, they just stood firm and dared the wind to blow harder. The only thing they asked in return was reciprocity, something I will gladly give to anyone who gives it to me.
If it weren’t for the occasional hardship, I probably wouldn’t have realized that some of the people that I considered to be my closest friends and most reliable relatives were actually wolves in sheep’s clothing. So, yes, I get frustrated when things get tough. But I also understand that something good and necessary is coming out of it.
My inner circle may be small, but damn, is it strong.