When you know someone long enough, you know what makes them tick, you have logged enough time and experiences that you get have had ample opportunity to see how they tick, what they are made of and what’s beneath the layers when you peel the onion. That’s one of the many beautiful qualities of longtime relationships and friendships, you know who you’re spending time with and what a gem they are. You’ve seen these treasured souls at their best, in their tough times and they are exactly who they are. They could say something that may not come out right and you just know that their intentions are right, they have your back and they would think the best of you no matter what comes out of your mouth either, because over the years, they have come to know your heart, and likewise.

Over time, the circle of these trusted friends and advisors becomes smaller and smaller.  Either your paths no longer cross due to distance and interests with absolutely no wrong doings or bad feelings, the bond is and will be there you just don’t see them.  Maybe these are the friendships affiliated with the circles you raised your family in, you moved and your day to day, month to month interacts are non-existent or you just grow apart with no ill will or feelings. These people, you could run in to at an airport or mutual friends party or kids’s wedding and it’s like no time has passed, maybe you even resume  a friendship or professional relationship  knowing what you know and you now have a new, old friend, picking up right where you left off.

Longtime, trusting friendships are hard to come by and a treasure over a lifetime.

  And then there are those relationships where you see what lies beneath the surface both professional and personal and you see something that makes you want to run and hide, makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and hopefully you are not in too deep, and if it’s professional, you just hope you realize it, before these stealthy characters cause too much harm in your life or anyone you care about.  Of these characters, I look at them in terms of two types.  One, they were like this all along, they just managed to do a fantastic job of hiding who they really are.  They do such a bang up job that Scotland Yard could be kept in the dark until they have blown up Buckingham Palace.  They are actors worthy of an Academy Award.  They look the part, they know what to say and they know who to play to get exactly what they want.  When these thespians reveal themselves you feel both dumb that they duped you and you marvel at their ability to create the best snow job.  The second type, started out down the right path, they just took a detour.  Moral and strong values were either placed on their heart by a caring and loving family or hard circumstances taught them the importance of good moral and values.  At one time they were either a trusted professional in your life or true friends.  Your lives crossed paths and you came  to know them as people you could trust and it was not only you whose trust they gained but that of a community in proximity or on a much larger scale.  They worked long and hard for their trust, that trust meant something to them and they took pride in that trust in the most honorable of ways, as they knew how hard it took to EARN that…

Friendships developed over a life time give us a sense of security and community.

     And then, something happens, maybe a  life altering circumstance, they learn damaging information about someone close to them, they get side tracked by a shiny object, or person and the structure of stability and consistency either bit by bit or all at one comes crashing down in such damaging ways it may be hard if not impossible to every come back from, looking like a sad Greek Tragedy that leaves those who know them scratching their heads saying, “how could they have possibly have allowed this to happen.”  For those who know the individual, it’s so awful to think about, it hurts and for those who merely read about it, it hurts too, as they hurt for them and those left as collateral damage.  Sometime out of nowhere, the image of them will appear when something you read or hear about remind you of them or the fall and it gives you a sick feeling in your stomach as to what happened.  Sometimes those around see it happening and think this is not going to be pretty, maybe even and maybe even you see bits and pieces but it isn’t until the walls all falls down that you put it all together, hindsight is 20/20 after all, and you think, couldn’t they see it coming, or all those pieces put together looking back, they really didn’t add up, if I only had put it together, maybe I could have not been affected or I could have stopped them from the pain they caused themselves and others. 

     There are certain authors who can spin a web in telling a tale that that draws the reader in so much that even after the book is finished, the story and tragedy, even if fiction, stays with them and may even ‘teach a lesson’ in looking at the characters flaws and bad choices.  I have read both short stories and novels  by British, best selling author, Jeffrey Archer that have done that to me and interestingly, his own life has taken such twists and turns.  Movies too can visually tell the story of both fictional characters and the re-telling of real life characters who have gotten themselves in such a pickle that it’s hard to come back from and some never do.  

     The reader, the viewer, the former friend or client or business associate is left asking, “What happened?” Was it the thrill of the game, the tempting of financial gain, the enticement forbidden sex, the thrill of trying NOT to get caught, sneaking around, that led the good person to stray from their carefully cultivated path or were these qualities already there, lying beneath, they were just hidden so carefully.  Maybe it’s the woman who doesn’t know how to be friendly to a man without flirting, sending the wrong message or the man with the wandering eye, thinking the woman he’s with is just not enough and he’s always looking elsewhere for someone to link wandering eyes with who may just have more to offer.  Or it’s the person who thinks, just this once, fudge the numbers, no one will notice, I’ll make this deal and it will all work out, no one will know, it will all be a”baked in the cake” I’ll get my piece, everyone involved will get what they want and no one will find out, everyone will be happy.  Deal Done!

     It never works out that way. As Abraham Lincoln said, “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”  Whether it is the politician   who has buffaloed their constituents, and colleagues into thinking they are ‘the real deal’, TIMES DOES TELL.  Every profession, every area of life, every economic class of people has individuals who have fallen, either tempted or unable to kept hidden, the cracks in their moral fibers.  College presidents who have succumbed to inappropriate relationships, coaches who have been temped and acted when they should not have, world leaders and clergy who have fallen to the flattery of a young or sexy woman, CEOs and athletes who have engaged in nefarious activity to bring organizations down and small town individuals who have engaged in all of this on a smaller scale.  

     These activities are not new or unique to the times we are living in, they are qualities that have appeared in individuals through out time found in the Bible and throughout time.  Some can read history or hear of the mistakes of others and learn from them, keeping their eyes on the path that is straight and narrow.  And others read and don’t learn, heeding the warning.  Either through natural consequences, their own negligent behavior and carelessness or they just get found out, these individuals who think their crafty behavior will yield big gains or that they won’t get caught, actually DO get caught up with. We may or may not see them experience consequences, but they do.  They may loose all they hoped to gain and more in terms of material possessions, they may be locked away for their offenses or worse yet, or worse in my mind, is the loss of trusted friends and associates and a break in long time, hard earned relationships with quality individuals and rightfully so.  Of course with repentance and asking for forgiveness there is a possibility of moving forward with mended fences.  A kind and loving God will forgive and forget, but there are years of a life left to live and one may have to sleep in a bed they have made for themselves. A bed they may wish had been made a different way, only the die has been cast, and it could be a lonely life ahead, with limited Great Days to look forward to.