Do you know your friends? Really?
I thought I did. Maybe it’s because I am pretty much an open book. What you see is what you get and all that. Not that I air every piece of dirty laundry I have, or, upon meeting a new person blurt out every dark and dirty event I have ever been through, but if I have been around you for any amount of time, you’d have a pretty good idea about who I am. What I’m like.
So you can imagine my utter astonishment when the husband of one of the couples in my home group (which is a small group of people from my church who meet together once a week to study the Bible and build a deeper connection with than you might find when you go to a church like mine that has over 1500 members) anyhow – we got a call that he was in jail because he battered his wife. His wife being a woman I thought I knew pretty well. Someone I considered my friend. Shoot, I thought I knew him pretty well… he put on a really good front. And I’m pissed.
So, why am I so pissed off? Maybe it’s because I feel like I was lied to. I mean, our group has met every week for a couple of years. We have asked each other to pray for issues we’re having, opened up about hard stuff in our lives… well – some of us have. Obviously not everyone.
See, we’ve been through a lot with this family. Our kids hang out together. In fact these kids always acted like they were this happy little family when the truth is they have been hurt by and upset and disappointed with their dad pretty much their entire lives… at this point they say they never want to speak with him again, they are so tired of his manipulation and lies and hurt.
The husband has had lots of serious health issues, and we prayed and we took them meals and we kept their girls when they had to travel to hospitals out of state and our husbands drove this guy to the doctor visits out of state when the mom needed to be home with her children for special events… and never, ever, did it come up that this man was an abusive addict. We knew he had once had addiction issues… and were led to believe this was the past; dealt with. He was even a leader in our church’s addiction recovery program! Sheesh. Then he went nutso one more time and she’d finally had enough. The attack was witnessed by their kids, by two pastors who came by because one of the girls got really scared and called her youth pastor, and the arresting officers. So even though this man has denied the event (!) we all know what happened.
I don’t blame my friend for leaving her husband, even tho they’ve been married over 20 years. I don’t know why she didn’t leave him earlier, except she is this sweet Christian woman who I know was trying to do the best by her kids and I am sure in her dysfunctional way she thought if she hung in there and prayed enough she could rescue this man. I get that. What I don’t get is in all the time we’ve been friends that she never felt like she could have, at the very least, said “hey, we’re having some problems in our marriage – could you pray for us?” I mean, maybe she didn’t want to drag her husband through the mud, or maybe she was embarrassed about – whatever parts of it – but we other gals sure asked for help and prayers about a whole bunch of crap… so it kinda makes me mad, I guess. Hurts my feelings maybe. Like she didn’t feel I was a trustworthy friend. I love this woman, I really do. She’s one of my best friends. I am sorry she is hurting right now.
I am also pissed that I was so misled by this man. I mean, he presented himself as this quiet, softspoken, very very wise man of God. He knew all the Scripture, had the right answers… When in fact he’s a crazy addict. And I seriously mean crazy. Some of the stuff he has said and done since the arrest and subsequent no-contact order, separation and divorce has been absolutely bat-poop-insanity. For reals.
I am not judging these people. We all mess up. We are all crazy, sin-filled people. I have had probably more than my fair share of stupidity and screw-ups. But, I don’t know. It just makes me mad. Why do we get together as a small group of Christian friends to support one another if we aren’t going to be honest with one another? Why don’t we just play Poker then?
Which all just makes me wonder… do I really know any of the people I think I know? How many of my friends are hiding some dark secret that they think I am not able to be trusted with? Do they think I’m hiding something? Do you? Are you?