Monday, June 6, 2011

Friends in the Face of It

Today, I passed by my friend Lucas on the way home from school.  He greeted me with a friendly hello, playfully wrapped one of his hands around my puny arm and said, "Whoooooa, check out these guns!"  I laughed him off and we chatted for a minute or two before we continued on our ways.  As we departed, he turned and asked if I wanted to grab lunch on Wednesday, as we often do.  I replied that I would and walked away.

A simple, mundane daily activity.

I was thinking about our interchange a few minutes prior as I continued my long walk home (literally uphill both ways and often in three-foot deep snow if it's winter).  I chuckled again as I thought about our lighthearted, jocular conversation.  And then, for some reason, a thought popped into my head:  This Lucas is the one who knows I'm gay.  He's married to my friend Amber and I inadvertently outed myself to them both, as you may recall, through this blog.  He knows many of my secrets and a whole damn lot about my weaknesses.  He even knows about a lot of the not-gay stuff, like my period of inactivity in high school and my erstwhile cigarette fixation that I now combat by chewing toothpicks.  He knows a lot about me.  And yet, he's still willing to be my friend, and not even one of those maudlin, vaguely insincere, "I'm-here-for-you-if-you-ever-need-me" friends.  He's a real buddy.  He'll still talk pizza and sports and cars with me.  He's still willing to discuss the plan of action we'd take in case of a zombie apocalypse.  He is still willing to make jokes about my "guns."  (Something I've noticed, even the most secure straight men don't like to joke with gays about their attractiveness, even if it's as funny and jokey and silly as it was.)

Thoughts like these kept flooding my mind.  I started to become overwhelmed by the gratitude I had that even after finding out something so monumental about me, my good friends still accepted and loved me, and showed that love by not only being "there for me" but also by being there with me, making plans to spend time with me and joking with me in the moment.  Little tears began rolling down my face as I walked and I just kept thinking how lucky I am to have friends who treat me the same after finding out, especially since I didn't exactly choose for them to.  Of all the friends that could have figured it out, the ones who did were the ones who still kept me around.

Often, it seems like once someone finds out about a hardship his friend is facing, he instantly becomes either repulsed or turns into a machine of pity and sympathy.  I know I do it.  When a friend of mine was in a major car accident and was left paralyzed from the waist down, I would sit with her to be her listening ear, when what she wanted was a joking mouth and a sense of humor.  I was supposed to be her buddy, not her disability counselor.

I'm so grateful to have friends (and family) that understand that principle and will still laugh and joke and make fun of me, and yet still have the sense to know when to offer advice, perspective, and a listening ear.  It inspires me to do the same.

And Lucas, if you read this, sorry if it comes off like a love letter.  Think of it as a gratitude-gram instead (alliteration FTW).

1 comment:

Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

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