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So, I’ve been re-evaluating. Re-evaluating a lot of things. It’s something new I’ve been trying, ya know. Something that I guess I was pseudo-taught to never do. “Only accept the things you’ve been told”, they say. I suppose that was never a phrase that was actually stated to me (thus the use of the prefix “pseudo”), but it was more or less inferred.

I say, however, challenge the things you’ve been told. The things you’ve just come to accept (this is a theme that you may see quite a bit on this blog). Then, if they stand up to the test, they truly are worth holding on to. And God forbid you should ever let them go.

[dismounts soapbox]

Ok where was I? Re-evaluation, that’s right. I’m re-evaluating things. A few posts ago I talked about rediscovering what it means to truly love God. A post and a half ago I discussed this thing of church/Christianity and what I feel God intended it to be.

More recently I’ve been thinking a lot about this thing of friendships and how funny they are if you sit back and think about them. We let these random people (that we’re in no way related to) into our sick little lives and give them varying degrees of exposure to our truest selves. It’s frightening, actually. And probably why I’m so reticent to reveal too much of my inner workings on this here interweb (verdict’s still out on whether you all are friend or foe just yet, sorry).

I had an epiphany a few weekends ago when it comes to friends. That being: I try too hard. Well, that wasn’t my first thought. The original epiphany came in the form of a wave of bitterness and anger accompanied by many a curse word muttered into my pillow. It wasn’t set off by one particular person, mind you, but at a few. They were people I once had close ties with, people who’s steady non-actions had piled up in the back of my head over the past several weeks, months and yes, years. Slowly and lazily piling up. Like a logjam. See, when I put a good bit of effort into a relationship, it really bums me out when I get a pretty dismal return on that investment. Wall street would call that a poor business decision.

I call it a raw effin’ deal.

After I calmed down a little bit, I came to the conclusion that I was trying harder than I should be. Shouldn’t a decent relationship be sometimes push and sometimes pull? How about that whole giving and receiving bit we’ve heard our whole lives? Shouldn’t there be some level of reciprocation? I was pulling on the rope and only feeling slack. One-way relationships go nowhere fast, I’ve begun to find.

So I looked at what a true, healthy friendship should look like. “Iron sharpening iron” was as good a place to start as any. It’s pretty elemental, really. See, for iron to sharpen iron it has to be just as hard as the piece that needs sharpening. They need to have equal strength; there has to be something there to push back on. There’s a time for one side to sharpen the other but also a time for it to receive sharpening as well.

I have a select few friendships that I actually feel sharpened by when we part company. This whole revelation of sorts has brought to light more clearly who those friends are and has given me a new level of respect and love for them. So, rather than putting so much effort into salvaging lopsided relationships, I’m focusing now on making sure I don’t become a lousy friend to those who deserve to get something back.

And that my friends, is something worth holding on to.

“And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”


######Note: This was originally posted on an old Squarespace blog of mine. Most of the references, links and jokes are probably dead.

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Ryan Straits


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