My best friend recently experienced a break-up in a relationship. The reality? Her pain hurts me as much today as it did when we were teens going through those patterns for the first time.
She reminded me that I've been thinking about the word "loyalty"... what it means to be loyal to someone, to something... what loyalty means in our everyday world... and what happens when you have NO loyalty, to anything or anyone.
I teach teenagers who have no sense of loyalty. I watch as they talk to a "friend" during the time between classes, exchanging "secrets". Then I watch as they walk in the classroom and tell the entire room full of kids what their "friend" just told them "not to tell!!!"
But I also teach some who understand loyalty. They are the ones that I have to pick up off the floor (sometimes literally) after their "friend" has destroyed that security of loyalty and friendship. They are the ones who either cry or become completely silenced by the betrayal.
Somewhere in my early days, it was embedded/ingrained into my mind that friendship requires loyalty... that sense that requires a deep attachment of your own feelings to theirs... that sense that requires you to overlook their shortcomings and still call them your friend... that sense that says your history together makes your friendship that much more intriguing and challenging... in other words, you know everything to know about that person and vice versa, and you STILL treasure their friendship.
Some of my friendships and the subsequent loyalty have been tested. I've felt that loyalty tested when a person I thought was a friend lied to me (while swearing up and down that he was "telling me the truth!!!"). I've felt that when you discovered that your friendship was built only on whatever the other person could use their friendship to create a profit/advantage for themselves.
Some of my "friendships" have fizzled when that loyalty was destroyed. It's simply a block I cannot pass. I will be loyal to you to the end but if you do anything to destory my sense of loyalty, it's over!
My true friends are the ones I made years and years ago. Their loyalty to me, having accepted me for years, have glued my own loyalty right back to them. I make new friends along life's journey, but I have to wait a while, test the waters of that loyalty, before I can truly call someone "my friend".
The friend experiencing the break-up sat by me in kindergarten and has ridden the roller coaster of joys and heartbreaks, happiness and sorrows, with me for over 35 years. Not many people can say that!!! We are going to Europe together in a few days for an adventure we never dreamed about while studying those countries together while in grade school!!!
Thank you to those whose loyalty has been something I could count on during this lifetime :)