Some years back, I received a call from my friends sister, stating that she (my friend) had been arrested for embezzlement. “You‘re kidding me”, was all that I could say, repeating it several times over. I knew of the pranks that she could pull, and, thought for sure, that there was no way in hell that this was true. She had to be pulling my leg.
While I didn’t get to see my friend often, we had been close for over about 17yrs, and by all accounts, we were (and still are) sisters. I knew this girl very well, and she would NEVER steal, no matter the circumstances that life dealt her. Somehow, before we hung up the phone, she all but convinced me, that this was not a prank, and I just wanted answers.
In the days to follow, I would come to learn that she had started seeing a guy, who apparently had a penchant for crack. But, I was still unable to put 2 & 2 together, to determine what made her do it, the crack, or the stealing. As it would turn out, that strong willed, and stubborn friend of mine wasn’t the leader that I had always thought her to be. Unfortunately for her (and, her victim), she was wasn’t a shepherd, but merely a sheep, a follower.
I should’ve seen the signs, when barely 5yrs before, this nice southern girl, who shuttered at the idea of getting dirty, decided that she was gonna take up taxidermy. Why taxidermy you ask? Well, her “fiance” at the time was a deer hunting enthusiast, and, while he’d prepare the meat for future meals, she had become determined to add the head to the trophies he already had hanging in his mobile home. What? Her, of all people, was spending hour upon hour with a tiny pair of cuticle scissors, removing any (and all) fat from the inside of the hide to prepare it for mounting? Disgusting!
While her fiancé was a nice guy, I wasn’t a big fan of her engagement to him. I knew that she could do better. Especially when she informed me that it was gonna be a redneck wedding, right down to the pink camouflage gown. What? This relationship should’ve been my first clue!
Now, fast-forward to her crack days. This girl was not naive to the ways of the world, and, had in fact (to her dismay) been exposed to people/friends who had fallen prey to the addictions of crack before, and had always been able to turn away herself. So, why would she not now? What made this guy soooo special, that she would forsake her better judgment? And, how far into it do you need to be, to actually steal from someone? I needed some answers!
After months of anguish and kicking myself for not seeing the signs earlier, I came to the determination that my friend, was a follower. A chameleon, that would adapt to any environment that she found herself in.
All of the uncharacteristic things that she had done over the years, that I had called into question, I now had an answer for. With her mounting insecurity, she was looking for acceptance from those around her, and, I unfortunately, was not around her as often as I should’ve been. As a friend, or, a sister. I still kick myself for that.
While my friend has now, after much introspection and clarity, turned her life around (and done her “time”), I sit wondering.
Why do people with a strong moral backbone, and sense of “self”, lower their standards, and reduce themselves, to fit-in with those of lesser moral fiber? Why would they not attempt, instead, to lift those others, out of whatever pit they’ve fallen into? Do we have to “know where they’re coming from” to get through to them? Is it really necessary to have “gone through it myself”, to show them that things can get better? Do we need to submerge ourselves in darkness, before we can truly see that there’s light at the end of the tunnel? I think not!! Support comes in many forms, and, “I told you so“, isn‘t one of them.
Why support the recovery, when we should be supporting the person before the addiction? Why do we find it so hard to support the dreams and aspirations of others? Why are we so bound and determined to ride other peoples coat tails, instead of creating something wonderful for ourselves?
They say, that if you’re going to put your money into the stock market, that you should buy stock in a product that you use. After all, when you purchase stock in a product, you wouldn’t be so foolish as to purchase a competing product on the shelf, would you? So, I would urge you to put stock in those around you that better your lives, and, not in those that don’t.