Day 25: Last Laughs
"But the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming." Psalm 37:13
I am so thankful for last laughs and victory in the end.
I have a friend who I've known for about ten years now. We met in the craziest of circumstances--at a funeral. My friend is a very interesting person. He is very shy. If there was a choice between an animal or a person, he'd definitely choose the animal. In my ten years of walking out life with him, I have made some assessments and noticed that he has never recovered from the trauma of compounded childhood disappointment and a heartbreak.
He always prefers to keep people at two arm's length of distance; his best friend is his mom; most often, he shys away from any type of conversation that involves emotional depth or him having to express his feelings; his group of associates have always been people who don't or can't challenge or stretch him to tap into his greatest emotional potential. He has deep desires for which he has stopped hoping because, after so much time of hoping and them not happening, he has given up on them altogether. I think it is also safe to say that he has, unconsciously, become an angry man. Because he is not loud or violent and doesn't have the boisterous personality of a typical angry person, he would disagree that he is angry. However, he is the silent angry that shows up bitter and full of resenment, sarcastically "joking" when his defense mechanisms are triggered.
To be fair to him, he had no idea what he was in for when he met me. I'm sure he thought I was cute and funny and someone who he could superficially pass time with and keep at arm's length. Wrong! I do sneak attacks on people. Most people see me as a plain jane sort of person at first glance. But they don't know, plain jane is just the facade and surface layer. It's the depth that takes them off guard. I lure them in with my smile; I charm them with my sense of humor and kindness and then I attack them with love. When they get hit with love, it's all down hill and the pure sentiments of a "man down."
Throughout our friendship, I have done random checks to see if my friend is willing to take a walk on the wild side and come out of his shell to engage in a conversation with emotional depth or to express his feeling. Before my last conversation with my friend, I was reading a chapter from the book called "Love Like You've Never Been Hurt" by Jentezen Franklin. I wanted to ask him his personal opinion and thoughts about an experience in his life. I was testing him to see if he'd break the mold and respond or if he'd stay stuck in his shell. I asked him, "can I ask you a personal question?" His reply was, "yes. Ask away but I may not answer." I was a little annoyed, frustrated and disappointed at the same time. I was annoyed and frustrated because as I mentioned to him, "no one likes rejection or to be ignored." Why would you tell me to ask the question if you wouldn't answer it? I was a little disappointed because I had hoped that, after all these years, this would be the moment where he'd choose to let his guard down and talk to me, his friend, with some depth. I was wrong. It was wishful thinking but still worth a try. I told him that it was okay that he wouldn't answer and that I'd ask someone else about their experience with my question. After a few minutes had gone by, I sent him another text saying "Love doesn't involve fear. After all these years, answering a questions that may stretch you or take you beyond the comfort of the superficial to share your truth with me should be fair game, especially knowing that I'd never intentionally hurt you." I think that stung him a little because he answered "I was just joking about not answering." You and I both know his behind was not joking, especially since avoidance has been his mode of operation throughout our entire friendship dynamic. When I called him out for his "joke" and said that I knew he really meant it, there was a long pause of silence. That was another sting to his ego because he couldn't deny that I know him so well. To lighten the sting and squash the rising defense mechanisms before they manifested, I hit him with a sucker punch move and then, gave the final man-down, TKO. I said, "I just want you to know that no matter what, my love is and has always been unconditional. I love you. You can rest in that." He avoided my words and said he had to go shovel snow.
The next morning, I sent him a text saying "I love you." He responds with, "I love you back." That is the third time, in our entire ten years of friendship, he has expressed himself like that to me. To lighten the response, I said, "now I can take all of your money! Lol. Just kidding." (Our inside joke is that he says I'm a gold digger.) He then responds, "it's all yours. No problem."
I chuckle because as always I get the last laugh. In a nutshell, all my friend really wants is to be loved and wanted and accepted, even if he is too fearful to let his guard down to receive it. So, I remind him all the time that he has what he wants. Fear thinks that it can and will keep my friend gripped in the traumas of his past. But my love, spoken and shown, will chip away at every piece of fear until it is all gone and my and his deepest desires for him are fulfilled. I'm committed to love him until he is not scared anymore but, courageous and bold enough to fight for and pursue things other than his business and favorite pastime. I'm committed to love him until he knows that he is ENOUGH. I'm committed to love him until he puts himself out there to start dating, meet the woman of his dreams, and get the family that he has always wanted but gave up on. I'm committed to love him until he gets a bigger circle of intimate friends that will challenge and stretch him. But for now, I'll be the friend loving him, continually challenging him, testing him, stretching him and igniting his potential until he becomes God's finished product. I also want to make sure that he never feels alone in this world.
Love always has the last laugh. Because I choose to love, I always get the last laugh too. Can you believe it? I got an "I love you back." Another wonderful milestone in our journey.
Today, as we give thanks for last laughs, provoked by love, I invite you to think on a person or situation that needs Love and a serious commitment for friendship. Dive in and take the challenge to be that person who gives and shows love. I guarantee that you will always have the last laugh, no matter how long it takes.
Have a great day of thanks!