Because and despite
“All friendships are ultimately inexplicable, although some of them are harder to figure than others.” —from A Dance at the Slaughterhouse by Lawrence Block
TWICE IN my life, a father figure showed up when I desperately needed one.
Later, I would learn that each man was guilty of something egregious.
With apologies to your curiosity, I shall not provide details. They would only get us off-track. Suffice it to say that the revelations knocked me for a loop.
An inner voice told me to hate them, to have nothing further to do with them. Yet I couldn’t. The kindness, validation, and support each had shown me was still there. Certainly the good did not erase the bad; but, at least for me, neither did the bad wipe out the good.
“Good person” versus “bad person” is a false dichotomy. Human character comprises many parts, each landing somewhere along its own acceptability continuum.* Some people land consistently near either extreme, but most — including you and me — land in different places on different continua.
Consciously or not, we average the continua, and choose to write off some people and not others.
Some of my friends hold views that I find odious. It’s a charge falling well short of “guilty of something egregious,” yet sometimes someone will ask how I can be friends with “a person like that.”
We love not just because but also despite.
* When you find yourself unable to make a decision, you are experiencing different aspects of yourself at war with one another. That’s an admitted oversimplification. For more information, I commend you to neuroscientist David Eagleman’s excellent book, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain.
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... where I share thoughts about writing. I don’t consider myself a writing authority, but that doesn’t keep me from presuming to blog like one. Oh, and I reserve the right to digress when I feel like it.