Saturday, January 9, 2010

The confusion of loyalty

This may make no sense--loyalty can be so confusing...

"Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor." (somewhere in Romans 12)

That word... honor... it's high on my value list... it grips me... it guides me... it confuses me... it holds me back... it leads me to create conflict on which I can dwell... it seems to go hand and hand with loyalty.


When I was much younger, my parents came to the realization that I needed a different piano teacher because I had stopped progressing. I remember being told this and being devastated in a sense, even though my new teacher had given me a few lessons and was very good. With this better instruction, I continued to play (from first grade) through high school, continued to advance, played pieces I would never have imagined, and developed a new loyalty to my new teacher. We still exchange Christmas cards. Back then, I didn't have the choice to stay "loyal" and stay with my first teacher. I wonder what I would do if that happened today.

As I have continued through my life, I have placed great importance on loyalty to so many different things. And while generally loyalty is a good thing, it can hold a person back, can cause an inability to say no, and can cause difficult situations. I hold onto those difficult situations and can't let them go easily. Can it cause treasured friendships to be lost? I think it, unfortunately, can. Big messes. Hard to turn those types of messes over to God.

Recently, a kind of transition led to the feeling of breaking loyalty and hurt feelings. Never know who will read these postings but oh well. I've had great athletic coaches in my life, and they've all become friends. Then at some point life has gone on, I have different coaches, and I stay friends with the old ones, who mentally coach via email at a distance. Honor... loyalty... both remain. Now is different.

After MS stopped me from running and walking for exercise, I was frustrated watching others outside running (it's still hard to watch). But I tried skiing and met someone who has been a great coach and has become a friend throughout the past 8 or so years. Without him I would never have found the love for handcycling which challenges me and takes me outside where I love to be. Friendship somehow together with coaching translated to loyalty for me. But reccently something has felt different. My friend is near retirement and I need different angles on skiing. So I decided not to ski with my friend each time.

This past week I went skiing. Great skiing. Some great new tips. Disaster on the friendship front. He didn't know we weren't going to ski together.

So, was my decision right? It simply had to happen. I may lose a friend although I hope not, because the friend helped me realize my potential. It's easy to say he should see what I need. But when reality came, he didn't. And I felt stuck in a loyalty tug of war. A mess. Somehow, this mess should be handed to God. But it's going to sit with me for quite awhile, as I question loyalty but know what I did in some ways was not completely a choice. God, pull me through the loyalty mess... somehow... and what here is good?

Muddling through the mess...


Clare said...

Wonderful post. Loyalty is a difficult one. A good friend should never hold you back and understand that maybe its time for you to move on.
It should not tarnish your friendship unless you allow it to consume you with guilt.
Keep praying about it.


ms'er faith said...

I'll try Clare--thanks. Praying and hoping it will work out, though doubtful. But still praying. Peace to you.