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An Unpleasant Visit From An Old Friend

April 9, 2018

I worked on my car today. It’s a 2006 Grand Prix. The water pump has been leaking like a sieve for about a month. I’ve just kept filling it up everyday. A trip to work (45 minutes of freeway driving) was enough to cause it to start getting too hot.

I knew it was the water pump. I really wanted it to be something else, but no amount of wishful thinking would change reality. Actually a water pump isn’t that tough to replace. And I’ve already purchased it. I bought it about a month ago when my car started leaking like a sieve.

A water pump doesn’t pump water, of course. You can add water to your coolant, but if you do, only add distilled water. Tap water has materials in it that aren’t good for your engine.

Anyway, I’ve been putting off doing the repair. At first I was blaming the weather. But, Spring has sprung in Utah. That excuse is mostly gone. Finally, I had to admit that I just didn’t want to tackle it on my own.

I have two “car guys” that I enjoy working with. One is my cousin. The other is my neighbor. I kind of half heartedly reached out to them over the past week. I want their help, but I don’t want to impose.

Today, I decided I was starting whether anyone helped or not. You know what happened? My cousin apologized that he coudln’t help. He had a family crisis that needed his attention. My neighbor? He was way too busy. And then he came over, offered advice, asked questions and told me to call him if I got stuck.

That’s what friends do. If they were too busy, they say so.

I heard from Luther again today. (The Wrong Way To End A Friendship.) If you didn’t read my earlier post, Luther ghosted on me after a friendship that had lasted for five years. It was. . .weird. I was disappointed. I searched my previous actions to try to find a reason and ultimately, I decided it wasn’t me, it was him. I grieved a little and then I moved on.

But, remember when I needed Luther’s help with my daughter? He’s a community activist for the homeless. My daughter is homeless. Today was a hard day for her. She’s in a shelter. She’s feeling pretty discouraged about being able to make progress on achieving her goals. She and I and Luther have actively worked on her issues in the past.

Today she texted me, my lovely wife and Luther expressing her frustration and discouragement. I did what dad’s do. I offered her encouragement. I explained that it’s a journey. That’s it’s important to keep trying. She texted back her gratitude for the continued support.

And then Luther texted the group:

Do not contact me again for any reason

And I was emotionally right back to where I was a week ago when I figured out that Luther and I were no longer friends. But, this time I had a hurting young adult.

I removed Luther from the text conversation and explained to my confused daughter that it wasn’t her, it was him. But, I realized how thoroughly I had misunderstood Luther. If he thought I’d stepped over a line and ruined our friendship, I figured okay. But, my daughter is exactly the kind of person that he and the organization he founded are supposed to be helping.

And then I thought about my car and my friends. Your friends are the people who are willing to make sacrifices for you. And in turn expect that you are willing to make sacrifices for them.

And when friends are too busy, in other words, if you are asking too much, friends speak up. They look for alternatives, or they just say, “I can’t help this time but good luck.”

I’ll take those friends any day over someone, no matter how well connected, who le’s you mistake aquaintance for friendship.

I left off the previous post with an open invitation to Luther and his wife Lacey to reconnect if they ever want to rekindle our friendship. Today, I realized that not only is that never going to happen (because in his view there was no frienship to attach a “re-” to) but even if there was, I’m no longer interested.

I can forgive thoughtless toward me, but when you go out of your way to insult a young woman looking to you for the help you’ve offered in the past?

As Nemo’s dad Marlin said in “Finding Nemo,”

Good feeling’s gone

Friends are precious. Treasure yours, but make sure they value you as much as you do them.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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