"Those who limp are those who have been knocked down, beat up and learned from the experience, and got up a better person for the experience. Those who have not been through such experiences are walking time bombs who do not realize that it can or will ever happen to them. Thus, their ways resemble proud and untouchable folks who are missing so much of life because they cannot lower themselves to relate to most folks."
I heard these aforementioned words today from my wise friend Paul, who also shared a story from a pastor who found out who his true friends were while facing his own calamities, for they too had already been through the throes of similar, if not equal distress, and walked uprightly with pronounced limps as reminders.
Those we deem as friends continually persevere, even though they have been bruised, battered and broken by the events of their past. They can empathize with our current state, for they have been through where we are now traveling and wear with honor the well-worn t-shirts to prove it.
Sadly enough, in the current trials and tribulations of my own life, I have discovered, just like the aforementioned pastor, those who have remained my cherished friends. They're limping with me, expecting nothing in return, giving freely of themselves as we trudge down this well-worn pathway together; while others, whom we counted on over the years, have suddenly stopped communicating personally, as well as in emails and phone calls, as though we have been declared unclean, infected by a plague.
The Golden Rule states: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Unfortunately this rule does not always apply when we have nothing of significance left to give. "What have you done for me lately?" seems to be the question that replays over and over again, almost daily. As long as we were supporting, providing, enabling and rescuing those in need, they were there for us. But when our abundance of material resources dried up, through this ever-so-humbling recession, reluctantly, so did many of our "friendships."
If one has never experienced the scars created by setbacks and loss, one will never truly appreciate the magnitude of hopelessness, along with the unwelcome feelings of helplessness that continually pound our mind like a storm-tossed surf. Fortunately for me, there are a few who have, for they steadfastly limp along beside us, until we are able to walk unaided, sporting a pronounced limp, all our own.
What our "former" friends may not know is that giving involves far more than material things. Those of us who have been blessed throughout our lives with the gift of giving, though our resources may be temporarily depleted, still give all we have as we are able. This includes, but is not limited to, the greatest and most priceless gift: the gift of prayer.
Bouncing and bubbling Charlie sent me a video this morning, called "I am one of the seven percent," which I would encourage everyone to take five minutes and watch. In it, you may witness, in your own life, a broader perspective of those in your circle, who unbeknownst to you may play a major role in helping you achieve your dreams.
Unfortunately and/or fortunately, whatever our case may be, we all need someone, either to hold our hand, embrace our hearts and/or to challenge our minds to discover the wherewithal that makes us who we are, someone too, who steers us in the direction of our aspirations. It is not a sign of weakness to want or need to commensurate with another. It is a strength that when drawn on empowers us to excel in all we set our mind to.
I've found equally in professional circles it's best to engage those who also walk with a limp. They seem to have an unrequited hunger that sets them above the rest. My recent kindred spirit is Randy, whom I have enlisted to find "my market." Spending a day with him last week, I learned that he too has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in his 50-plus years. He has started climbing the ladder once again and is close to reaching the top, albeit with a limp. Randy says rather humbly that, "for all the bad he encountered along the way, he wouldn't trade it for anything, because he is a much better person because of his life-altering events." Kudos to him.
We are all movers and shakers, or we wouldn't be where we are at this stage in our lives. Most of us got here because of people who believed in us, friendships that developed both professionally and personally through our journeys. Unfortunately and/or again fortunately, when the road gets tough, the chaff has the propensity to be separated from the wheat. Those who continue to remain by our side are those of substance, refined grain if you will, and worthy of our utmost respect, while others, who are easily swayed by circumstances that no longer benefit them, have mysteriously disappeared.
Look to those who limp within your inner circle, as I have, and be thankful. They're the ones who will be there for you and me when everyone else has abandoned our ship. Communicate often, say thank you frequently and without reservation, and let them know you care. These friends are forever priceless. We can and will always count on them to be there for us. And they will be, limp and all.
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