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Friday, July 2, 2010

Lonely Rodney Dangerfield

Today for some of the time l felt like Rodney Dangerfield when he said “I get no respect. I played hide-and-seek, and they wouldn't even look for me" ( Rodney_Dangerfield).  We see a kid excited, eager to play.  He rushes to hide in great anticipation of the search and eventual discovery.  Then the sad dénouement—no one cares to play with him and he stares wide-eyed and alone. 

Of course Rodney Dangerfield was a popular comedian because so many people could identify with this feeling—the feeling that we don’t matter much.  We’re tolerated and humored now and then, but everyone would rather be playing with someone else.  What is the antidote when we have such feelings?  When I had these feelings this afternoon, my phone rang.  It was a longtime acquaintance calling.  Right away I cheered up, then he told the reason for the call, he needed to borrow some money.  I was so grateful for the call, I said ok right away.  In a little while he called back to say that the loan was not necessary, he would make other arrangements.  Somehow I felt a little down from both calls—I was first needed for my money, then I wasn’t needed at all.

The truth is we need loyal friends who like us.  Beyond all our shortcomings and failures, they can see something good in us.  It may be a mystery what they see, but that doesn’t matter.  In fact a little mystery suggests we have some depth.  We are not simply straw men or paper cutouts.  The unanswered questions of affinity are the nicest thing about friendship—to like and be liked without knowing completely why.  It is the feeling that someone cares and is looking out for us.  It is the feeling of grace.
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