I still remember that day like it was yesterday. My paternal grandfather came to visit our household unexpectedly. The moment he came into our home, the vibe changed. While we had our struggles, our family has always lived in peace. But something shifted when he brought his energy into our environment.
All of a sudden, my father’s behavior towards us changed. There was a lack of agreement amongst my parents, and he slowly began to try to tear down the self-esteem of my siblings and me, bit by bit.
Prior to his arrival, my father told me how important it was to respect and honor my grandfather. Like a good daughter, I followed suit. I would buy him candy, give him money, I would give him toys, things that he could take back home to the children in the village upon his return. But then one day, my grandfather tried to abuse one of my youngest and most innocent brothers.
I became enraged and furious. I rallied my siblings and convinced all of them that we needed to take that man down. And take him down we did --literally. Before my mother knew it, she heard a loud thump in the living room, my siblings and I had tumbled my grandfather to the ground in defense of my young brother.
That day shifted the relationship between my grandfather and me. I was no longer the sweet, honorable, eager girl he met when he first entered our home. In fact, he became public enemy number one in my eyes, and I was determined to let him know that in our house, we didn’t disrespect and abuse children.
I have always been extra. My father would give me instruction, and I would make myself the keeper of the law for the entire household. If my father said no smoking, I didn’t care who you were: I would wake up at 2 AM and approach any adult to inform them of our house rules while kindly pointing to the no-smoking sign in our kitchen.
I still remember the day my grandfather hit me with his shoe. My father taught me that if anyone ever hit you with a shoe, it meant they did not respect you. He told me to never permit anyone from hitting me with their shoe. Like the good daughter I was, I took my father’s words to heart. The day my grandfather beat me with his slipper, I immediately went into his closet and took back every single gift I ever gave him.
I took back the coins. I took back the cars and went straight to the candy store to purchase my favorite candies. I shared them with my siblings. It was wonderful. Lo and behold a few days later, my grandfather held an entire family meeting to discuss my arrogance as a seven-year-old girl.
In front of my uncles, aunties, and parents, I looked at my grandfather in the eye and said something along the lines of “My father said not to let anyone hit me with their shoe. You hit me with your shoe, so I took my gifts back.”
From that point on, I became known as the arrogant little girl my parents couldn’t control. The one who was a loose cannon. But I didn’t care, my grandfather violated the rules, and would have to deal with the consequences.
Aside from outright defiance, I am no different in adulthood. I can be loving, kind, and gentle. But the moment someone crosses the line and shows themselves as disloyal all bets are off. The book of Proverbs talks about lying friends:
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend [who corrects out of love and concern], but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful [because they serve his hidden agenda].”
-PROVERBS 27:6 AMP
I have said this before, and I will continue to stand by it: our generation has a friendship crisis. We have no idea how to select friends, how to be a good friend, and how to distinguish genuine people from phonies. People have become so obsessed with looking like they are winning, that they are building losing teams that are traps for their own destruction.
I believe Brene Brown put it best in her reference to marbles and relationships. In her book Dare to Lead, she refers to relationships being like a jar of marbles. According to her, we should envision that everyone in our life has a jar of marbles. Every time they do something dependable, trustworthy, or show up, they get a marble. The people you should trust are the ones who have a jar full of marbles. Everyone else gets placed accordingly.
If you look around and find yourself surrounded by low-quality relationships, you need to ask yourself: Am I placing my marbles in the wrong jars? Are the individuals I continue to give my marbles to pouring back into my jar? When I look at the individuals who I have friendships or relationships with, have they established enough marbles to get us through a rift? Are there people in my life who have overdrawn their marbles?
The truth is, everyone has not poured enough marbles into your life to make it through transitions. Transition time is the time to assess jars, marbles, and act accordingly. Honor the people with full jars; everybody else is, everybody else.
The reality of life is, no matter where you go, you will find people present for different purposes. We are not all the same, no matter how much our generation wants to portray we are. I have learned the true test of loyalty and honor comes in trying seasons. This is when we learn who our true friends are. The fiery furnace of life is intended to not only change you but to expose the phonies from the originals.
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”
-II Timothy 2:20-21 NKJV
Alpha woman, you should seek to honor those who have shown themselves honorable and distance yourself from those who have shown themselves to be dishonorable. Know the difference between a Peter and a Judas.
Peter had a lapse in judgment; Judas was a backstabber all along. If your so-called friends have proven themselves disloyal, get up, grab your jar of marbles and find another place to play. Get away from pots of clay.
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