There were several years in my life where I allowed a few toxic people get the best of me and my emotions were ALL over the place, as a result. I didn’t know how to cope. I didn’t know how to create boundaries. I didn’t know how to be myself. There were so many things I didn’t know and I lost friendships over it – friends I deeply valued. The loss of those friendships have weighed on me for years. Mostly because I knew I was going through something in life I’d never been through and I knew the person I was, during all of that, was not my true self.
One of those friends is a shepherd of sorts, always looking out for his family, his friends, and his community. I noticed that the day I met him. He almost immediately became like a brother to me. I trusted his advice and I always felt protected when he was around. We were friends for a couple years and one day during that difficult time of mine, his light turned off – he was short with me, he barely looked at me, he was completely cold. I asked him about it once and he laughed at me and shrugged it off. I couldn’t figure out what I’d said or done. I had some speculations as to why but nothing concrete. This was over 8 years ago. Recently, I’d learned he was going through some tough times. I started and deleted several messages to him over the last several months but was afraid he wouldn’t take it well. Last night, out of the blue he messaged me. During our conversation, he was surprised to learn I thought he hated me.
God reminds me every day, “The way people treat you is a direct reflection of what they’re going through.” After talking with my friend, I realized, even if he was disappointed in me back then, he was also going through stuff that made him shut people out. I didn’t know then what I know now and I was so self-absorbed with what I might have done wrong I blinded myself. God is also teaching me a lot about grace lately. If I can act out of character during stressful situations, then why can’t my friend, the man with a shepherd’s heart?
Now that he’s through his storm and I’m through mine, we can move past it all and we’re better people for it. I look forward to including him back into my life and I’m confident he and my husband will get along really well!
Life’s storms can be downright miserable; but, those storms wash away the muck, and the people who truly love you will be the rainbows that welcome you home.