Saturday, August 16, 2008

Are you a Weatherman, a Shopkeeper, or a Friend? - A Repost from an older blog.

I posted this particular blog a few years back, and ran across it while I was rereading old comments. Thought I would repost it for anyone who may not have been following that particular blog of mine. :-)

Are you a Weatherman, a Shopkeeper, or a Friend?

Have you ever noticed that as soon as it begins to rain, a weatherman on your favorite television channel or radio station interrupts your favorite song or show simply to exclaim that it is raining. DUH! Of course we know it's raining! Those cold soft drops of liquid emanating from the clouds above kind of already gave that fact away! But weathermen are so often wrong about the types of weather we will experience, that they just can't fight the urge to share their discovery of the obvious. Maybe this is a prideful response to the overwhelming number of times they got the weather wrong, but that doesn't discount the fact that they are still only providing us with an unneeded and unnecessary observation of the problem. The information they are providing is not helpful to any extent and ultimately does nothing to help work towards a solution to the problem. And yet, these people seem extremely happy to be able to declare a true and unarguable statement of the obvious.

On the other hand, if you are out in said rain and dive into your local store for cover, you will find many people waiting and eager to help you contend with the deluge outside. Often times shopkeepers will move a cart of umbrellas and ponchos up towards the front doors (with a considerable markup I might add) in order to entice patrons to partake of their protective bounty. Although they are offering a temporary solution to your problem, this assistance does include a condition - you have to pay. The shopkeepers may be superficially sympathetic to your dilemma, but ultimately their true motivation to help stems from what they think they can get out of you. You can't expect something for nothing, right?

Then again, you may just find yourself stuck outside in the rainy weather with your favorite pal or buddy at your side. Instead of just mentioning the rain, or charging you for a raincoat, that person may just throw their arm around you, pull you close, and snuggle up beneath his (or her) own umbrella to shelter you from the elements. Isn't that an amazing thought?! Someone who cares about your well-being without any thought to their own comfort...someone who just wants to know that, despite the rainfall, you are safe and snug and happy. What a true friend! These are the people we turn to when things are down. These are the people we turn to when things are up. Quite simply, these are the people we need... the people who matter... the people who make our lives meaningful, fun, and safe. These are the people who we want around in the sun, heat, snow, or down pour. Not only do we need these people in our lives, we want to need them. And in a world where expressing the need for a companion may be considered an act of weakness, the fact that we still openly desire to have our friends nearby in time of crisis speaks volumes about their importance.

So, the next time you find yourself discussing the different storms of life with your close friends, family, or spouse, ask yourself: are you a weatherman? a shopkeeper? or a true friend? The answer may surprise you, but regardless, it will most certainly make you strive to listen without judgment or discouragement, offer help and guidance without consequence or condition, and instill you with a desire to offer a shoulder to lean on, a tissue to cry into, or just a nice pat on the back.

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