The way of things is odd, to say the least.
When I got married, I married my best friend. After nearly ten years, she remains my best friend and my soul-mate. We have made it a point to grow closer together rather than drifting apart, as I have seen many couples do with the weathering of the years. At this point, it just seems natural to spend the time together that we do. Most people who meet us have no idea that we have been together for so long. I like it this way. I’m looking forward to the next decade with her and the one after that, so on and so forth.
If you are close friends with your family, i. e. parents, siblings, cousins, count yourself as fortunate. This is a blessing, and not to be taken for granted. My wife and I are very close to my brother and sister in law. I value their friendship and their place in my life. Granted, I may get annoyed at them from time to time, but that is the way of siblings, isn’t it? If you don’t get annoyed at them, you probably aren’t that close.
All that being said, I come to inner-circle best friends. I have three best friends that don’t fit into any of the above categories (arguably). I’m speaking of non-blood relatives that are close enough friends that they may as well be. These three friends in no particular order are Darren, Beej, and Sean. Something else that these three people share in common other than essentially being non-blood relatives to me is that they all three voted for Barack Obama on Tuesday, and I don’t think any less of them for it.
I’ve known Beej since I was in second grade. Back then, she was a squirrelly little kid, and went by Bridget. Of course, I was also a squirrelly little kid, and I was known as Michael. Later, she decided to go by her initials, B. J. She found that this new moniker had mixed results, and her group of friends settled into calling her “Beej,” even in written word. Beej is a highly gifted, highly intellectual individual that has had the most unique personal story that I can recall. But, I would have to let her tell you about that on her own time and motivation. When Jenni and I took up handgunning in January, 2008, it kind of scared Beej at first. She wanted to come for a range session with us just to see what it was about. After her first trip to the range, she was hooked and the disease took her over. She now has a Smith & Wesson revolver and a Sig 9mm and has been thinking about getting herself a shotgun and some formal training. She thoughtfully listens to and reads our conservative views, but doesn’t embrace them on our word. I’m proud of her for that. If everyone could openly consider all viewpoints and come up with their own independently, the world would be a better place to live.
I’ve known Darren for nearly as long as Beej. I can’t remember whether it was in late grade school or junior high when Darren and I met. Darren has done some really crazy stuff in his life. He has a cabin out in the woods, but currently leads the career military life with his wife who is a nurse for the United States. In high school, Darren and I chased after some of the same girls. We’ve always had our differences, and never let them bother us. I’ve always been an opinionated fan of Japanese cars, and he has always been vocal about his Pontiacs. There have been times that we poked fun at each other for such differences, but at the end of the day, we’ll drink from the same scotch bottle. I think it was during the 2004 election that I discovered how vastly different our political views were. I have to admit that I was shocked at the time. Darren has had points in his life when I thought to myself, “Dear Lord, he’s going to kill himself.” But such is they way with young men, I suppose. This is how we grow into full-fledged, grown men. I can’t help but wonder if he thought the same of me from time to time.
I have been friends with Sean for the shortest amount of time of any of these three dear friends. I met Sean about 7 years ago maybe? We were fast friends from day one. He and I were both driving (and modifying) 1983 Honda Civic Station Wagons. He had commented that he wanted to lower his. Without hesitation, I asked Sean to buy the supplies needed and to bring them to my house on my day off, and we would lower his car. I didn’t really know the first thing about him, but he struck me as a good person. My first impression of him could not have been more right. Sean and I got to know each other over the engine compartments of many Japanese cars. Together, we fixed some basket cases, and screwed up perfectly good drivers in the pursuit of making them perform better. I have fond memories of some of those monstrosities, which took on personalities of their own and were usually unfit for public roads in their final forms. Sean is a metal man. He has a heart made of solid gold, a mind like a steel trap, iron convictions, and if I had a sister, I would do everything in my power to marry her off to him so we actually could be brothers.
As I said before, all three of them voted for BHO. I find it incredibly interesting that I felt so very strongly about this election – that it was not a matter of black and white, or right and left but to me it had become a matter of right and wrong or good and evil – and yet, the three people that I would consider family except for the lack of blood relation each disagreed with me on this point. Of course, with the way my brain works, I’m trying to find correlation – some sort of cause-and-effect situation in or about my life that could explain what would seem to be such an odd coincidence. I have spoken with each of them in turn about the election. They all know that I’m opinionated and outspoken (that’s just the nice way of saying a big-mouthed punk). A great friend will allow that and still care about you. Each of them has seemed hesitant to touch the issue to varying degrees, I suppose in fear that they would elicit my opinion maybe? I shudder to think that that could be the case!
Ultimately, I hope they find that I am proud that my friends think about things, and have individual beliefs and opinions. I hope they know that when it comes down to it, we agree on all of the important stuff. I believe that God’s Will is the One Constant, and though different stuff happens because of what we as people do, His Plans will come about one way or another. I am a believer in the strength of the individual. I am a believer in unity in small groups. Once you really get down to it, these people – my immediate family, my extended family, and my adopted family – are more important than all the people in DC rolled up into one big, corrupt ball. As I wrote in my previous entry, I hope they are right and I am wrong on this one. I also hope that such petty things never damage friendships like these.
(By the way, I still think you guys voted wrong! ;-P)