One of the repeated facts about people who live long and satisfying lives is that they have wonderful warm social systems. They remain free to be themselves and thrive and prosper in happiness.
Unless you have been raised in a family of great luck and great discrimination, knowledge and wisdom, you have probably had to face the lesson of discrimination with friendships. That lesson includes who is good company and which friendships add quality to your life.
I am grateful that I was raised in a small, farming community where American values and fairness in the schools, churches and community was all that was acceptable. We were supportive friends interested in getting a good education, farming, and community team work. Many of us are still friends even though we have been separated by great distances and careers.
It was a great shock for me at 26 when I found out that I was not “good enough” to remain a friend with a woman who had become almost like a sister to me. We had met in a Master’s Degree Human Relations Course and became fast friends. After 5 years of close friendship, one Sunday she “got religion” in a Pentecostal church. So within three weeks’ time our Thursday evenings of catching an artsy fartsy movie and one beer at a local tavern was no longer acceptable to her. I was a sinner. And unless I joined her church I was no longer acceptable to her. I was devastated and deeply sorrowful for losing that friendship. I learned one side of the lesson.
More on discrimination in friendships in the next posting.