As we sat around a pool chatting late into the evening, the conversation drifted to the less stellar moments in our youth. There is a natural danger when you are with friends that know your history, sometimes better than you do! In this case, the stories came flowed from all directions. Youthful ignorance to stupid choices, perfect storms to ones of our own makings, every story had a punch line that told of how it could have been avoided.
We laughed with and at each other, more than any of us had in a very long time. It was a refreshing and wonderful way to replay our shared journey. Even as I wiped smiling tears from my face, I knew this was unique. I knew we were in a boat together, enjoying our mistakes and the learning that followed with a spirit that keeps us together.
Usually my past cuts and hurts, especially when someone adds salts to the wound. Ridicule has many difficult forms, none crueler than when it multiplies to include strangers laughing at one’s expense. When the stories multiply, fiction mixing with fact, it is as if a weight is being placed on every spot of one’s heart that cannot bear more than it already has.
The whinge across time replays, “Now drunks and gluttons make up drinking songs about me,” (Psalm 69.12) and my heart aches. It does not matter who the individual is, friend or enemy. Life is difficult enough. It is hard to see why anyone deserves for it to be harder than it already is, especially when man is the source behind creating the pain.
For now we laughed well into the evening. We cared enough to remind ourselves that we walked in each other’s shoes. We told stories about ourselves with the same abandonment as we told ones about each other. The care was there, before, during, and afterwards.
Salt can be painful with open wounds. It can also add something special to a dish prepared with love. It’s wonderful with the chef gets the mix just right.