Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rethinking: friendship

Growing up we form friendships based on geographical proximity and I think necessity. There is no prejudice or malice, just the need for a play mate close to home. These normally develop into long lasting friendships that span time and distance. Well that’s true for most men. I am told the best friends in a girl’s life change with each PMS episode but I may be wrong in this too.

We then grow this to friends based on a shared torture regime namely school. So statements like we went to Kitante Primary school together used to explain how people know each other and are friends. Back in the day there were not that many schools and so you all went to the same hand full of school which meant you were more likely to meet you neighborhood playmate there.  This change allowed you to have both your home friends and school friendsi.e. those who were your friends only within the confines of the school perimeter.

This is further amplified when we move away to attend secondary school. This is where we come into our own. As we grow we meet different people from all over the country. We lose some old friends along the way and gain more based on our ever changing worldview and values.

This season makes for some awkward holidays when former childhood friends meet and feel like strangers or one of your former primary school friends keeps ducking you because he or she went to that weird school on the further side of civilization.

Somewhere along this high school journey, some of us meet God. He arrests and we swear undying devotion and allegiance to him. This causes a further shift in our friendship landscape. It is here that I suspect things start getting a little complicated.

You see, all your non saved friends are labeled worldly and your told to stay away, after all what does darkness have with light. This view point right here is just a pile of bull crap although we do need to watch who we call our close friends after all it’s easier to push a squatting man.

Now enter the young adult phase. I don’t know about you but phase seems to have the chemical confusion of adolescence and the morose depression of adulthood. Everything is changing and I mean everything. Suddenly they have removed the safety and the world is rushing at you full speed and you have nowhere to hide and no instructions to guide you through it all.

This phase is rather potent for me. You see I was a loner most of my life and actually happy with it. But I get saved and there is this change. I discover my inner people skills and I get quite the friendlist. I was relieved because deep down their friendship validated me. I was terrified of being alone or lonely. So I visited, kept in touch and hungered after these friendships. This was all done under the umbrella of ministry and don’t get me wrong it was all genuine most of the time. In fact these salient fears came up years later when as happens with life things begun to change again.

Everyone I know goes to one university and I alone go to another. I have to face my aloneness and loneliness. Luckily I was a proud chap determined not to let anything get me down. So I soldiered on but in the dark silent load shedded nights of Mukono I stood face to face with my fears and they won again and again.

Throughout campus I portray one thing during the day while at night I was transformed into something totally different like a wear wolf under a full moon. It’s at this time that I start noticing my low times last way to long. My grades slip and my faith takes a dip. For some reason not even my dogged determination helps me. What’s worse all the things I used to do to get me up and going, the prayer and bible reading and fellowship just becomes bland. My soul was thirsty for a water I could not describe. I knew what I did not want but did not know what what I needed looked or tasted like.

Fast forward to now. I different version of the same battle and this time I just explode, covertly of course. First person we “stopped” being friends with was because I called them fat. Many months later I was unfriended in real life for reasons even now I still don’t understand. Others I avoided because they just exacerbated me more and left me acerbated. My mouth seemed to lead the way and the slights of my tongue were mightier than my apologies.

And so I gave up on friendships that seemed to much work. I opened myself to the possibility that people I had known for years and had shared important aspects of my physical and spiritual growth together would no longer be that important in my life and me in theirs. I realized that, hey, I can make new friends and so I let my fair people skills guide me. If I met someone and something about then grabbed me I struck up a conversation and then let it all to God, if it was to be we would link up.

I gave up strife and effort but I did not abandon civility and courteous behavior. I dialed down immensely. But still I lose friends and still my mouth is the culprit.

So this is what I have decided. I am an honest, opinionated, tactless man cursed with pride and the hard headedness of a buffalo.  My head , my heart and my mouth do not always coordinate and sadly my means do not allow me to demonstrate my love and concern. This means that one moment I shall be super nice and sensitive and the next moment as callous as a sailor in a whore house. Its not always intentional nor is it even obvious sometimes.

Like I pointed out, I am a little bit worn out so if I pull at these friendship strings and feel no pull from the other side, I don’t sever the rope, I tie it down somewhere for when I feel a tag from the other side.

Because I am a bull in a china shop, I expect things will break but I believe that as adults we can and we should look beyond some of these slights and if we cannot to be open, end the relationship. I am not one for pretense.

Oh yes, I have had a looong year and sometime I don’t want to talk to you or see you or pour my heart out to you and sometimes when I want to do all these things I don’t want you to open your mouth and spew some nice Christian jargon, I just want you to shut up and partner with me in hating. You can send you rebuke by text later.

Or sometimes I just want to swear and be mean to someone. You may be that someone. And know that sometimes my rave and rant has nothing to do with you. Good thing I always give fair warning…I think.

To me friendship fills that void left by family and God. Ti should be that one place where we can be honest and mean without taking everything to heart. It should be that combination, at this point in our lives of childhood friendship, I just need a playmate and you shall do as well as that of primary, we have been through shit together and that of high school we identify with something bigger than each other and that of adulthood…measured and tampered by experience and love and God.

I don’t know if I have been a good friend but I have tried. Right now the strong indomitable Andrew Is worn out and tired and just needs a break. If I call you be fine. If I don’t, be fine. If you call and I sound bored be fine. If I am weirdly excited be fine…I may have imbibed some happy meds. I probably want to spend a bigger amount of time alone and not with you. Be fine. Oh and when I come seeking you out it may be selfish…be warned…be fine.

This sun shall set and when the dust is settled from this epic rethinking of friendship, its it those left around with whom we shall skip hand in hand into the sunset leaving rainbows in our wake….or not. I am still re thinking all of this friendship stuff.

 

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