Thursday, July 18, 2013

Isolation? Limitations? No More!: An Addendum

With pretty much every blog post I write, no matter how long it is, there's always at least one point I want to make that I forget about until after I've finished the post.  This last one--which I know many of you liked--falls into that category as well.  So, as per my usual style, I'll mention some things that didn't already make it from my mind to my keyboard.
First off: I have got to start valuing my true friends more.  You may think that I've never attended anything with friends unless someone else in my immediate family was tagging along, but that's not true.  However, what sadly is true is that two people who made a special effort to do things with me are now counted amongst my former friends.  One of them was even considered my "best friend", but, when she got engaged, I pretty much "freaked the freak out," and wrote a scathing Facebook note about her.  The other one? I made a joke about her I knew I shouldn't have made, and, though she tried to "overcome evil with good" (as Romans 12:21 commands) by kindly responding, I refuted everything she said and proceeded to publicly bash her online as well, even essentially manipulating others into defending what I had done.  It's highly unlikely that they will ever go anywhere with me ever again; frankly, even one of them calling 911 if they witnessed me getting seriously injured,  having a stroke or anything of that nature is more than I deserve after what I did.  They aren't even the only ones; people have "unfriended" me on Facebook just because, when they tried to communicate with me, I didn't pay them any attention.
I could say that each one of those incidents was a wake-up call, but, if it really had been, I would have changed things much sooner than I actually did.  I'm reminded of a story from the 2004 Summer Olympics--yes, a sports story! Are you surprised?--that my brother-in-law, who loves the Summer Olympics, once told me and a friend.  An athlete on the U.S. basketball team--I want to say it was Allen Iverson, but I'm not 100% sure it was--was interviewed after his team lost a game.  When Iverson or whoever said that the loss was "a wake-up call," the interviewer asked him, "Didn't you say that, when you lost to [whichever team], that it was 'a wake-up call'?" The athlete admitted it was true, to which the interviewer responded, "How many wake-up calls do you need?!!" Unfortunately, it would seem that I've needed multiple wake-up calls as well; even when my own mistakes cost me good friendships, I just kept falling back into the same pitfalls again and again.
Though all those friendships are now kaput, that doesn't mean that I can't continue the friendships I do have, or make new ones.  Still, if I am going to have/make friends, I have got to be a friend; as the old saying goes, "Friendship goes both ways."  That means that I can't make it all about me, me, and me.  Unfortunately, selfishness is a problem I have struggled with for years; even as a little kid, at the age when most people are very sweet and innocent, many of my bad behaviors were rooted in selfishness.  We didn't get to do what I wanted to do, regardless of everyone else's preferences; I didn't get whatever item(s) I wanted, even though I had ten times more stuff than most kids around the planet ever got; I was stuck doing things I didn't want to do, so I acted up as a result.  Now that I understand that such behaviors are a problem, it's up to me to fight them and make sure that I no longer succumb to such temptations.
Second off: I'm not going to be able to fully discover new areas of interest--i.e., sports--without someone to help me.  Some of you may not know this, but, for quite a while, my mom has loved figure skating.  Though I don't consider myself a fan, I know the names of various professional skaters, ranging from Paul Wylie to Scott Hamilton to Kristi Yamaguchi to Yuka Sato to Nancy Kerrigan to "Jumpin'" Jozef Sabovcík.  (How many of those names do you recognize? My point exactly.)  Not long after my mom remarried, she and my dad were watching a figure skating performance on TV where skater Ekaterina Gordeeva did a routine dedicated to her late first husband, Sergei Grinkov.  My dad had only watched figure skating when it was part of the Winter Olympics, so, he had to ask my mom, "What, did her husband die?" My mom proceeded to explain the tragic circumstances of Mr. Grinkov's death--which had happened over a decade prior--and how it affected her personally due to unrelated familial events happening around the same time.
In the event I were to venture into the sports world, I would need the same kind of explanation.  When it comes to such matters, I'm pretty much like Mork the sitcom alien, or Data, the "humanoid android."  (Okay, maybe I consume too much sci-fi.)  I may never fully understand sporting culture--or human behavior in general--but I'll have a much better chance at "getting it" if I have a friend to explain it to me.  Before you ask, no, that friend does not have to be a woman, though--no offense to the guys who might be reading this--a female friend and sports fan may be able to put in into terms I could understand than a same-gender friend.
Lastly: I believe that someone will come into my life and change it in a good way forever...but I have to let them change me.  Most movie fans or avid readers have no doubt seen/read multiple books/movies where Person A is in dire straits...until he/she meets Person B, and his/her life is changed for the better.  Flicks ranging from The Karate Kid to Beauty and the Beast employ that device in some way.  Even Star Wars falls into that category: If Luke Skywalker had never met Obi-Wan/Ben Kenobi, would he have undergone Jedi training and been able to bring an end to the Empire? If young Anakin had never met Qui-Gon and Padmé, would he had ever become a Jedi or fallen in love? One of the best depictions of such a plot device that I have seen, however, was in Karen Kingsbury's novel Unlocked.  (If you Christian fiction fans haven't read this one yet, you need to!)  The story of Holden Harris, who was so severely autistic that he couldn't even talk, and his childhood friend Ella, who helps him break free of his disorder's grip, moved me in such a way few books, movies, or TV shows ever have.
Though I know--and I'm sure you do, too--that my condition--it's not a disability!--is not that bad, I still have felt for a while that I am in need of change. (You'd agree, right?) In the past, some people have gone from being helpful to seriously breaking my heart.  One coeval young lady really helped me by talking me through a time of crisis...only to proceed to unfriend me on Facebook mere weeks if not days later.  What was really painful about it: I only discovered her "de-friending" because I was trying to add her as one of my "Top Friends" via a Facebook app.   I may never know why she did that.  Others have done essentially the same thing.  Sometimes, it was my fault (see above); other times, it was theirs...but pointing fingers isn't going to bring our friendship back.  Does that person who would change my life for the better have to be a significant other? No, although that would be good.  It could be a married woman--hey, many of my good friends are just that!--or it could even be a guy.  God can use whoever He wants to use.
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