At the end of my last entry I was telling you how I ran away from a life that I was afraid of. I ran away and didn’t look back for awhile. I was living with my parents at the time and working at the Sheriff’s Office. I was still in shock about the whole baby thing, but I was trying not to think too much about it. I was seeing my daughter on a fairly regular basis at that point because my parents were watching her while Lindsay worked, so she was at my parents’ house a lot.
Anyway, working at the Sheriff’s Office made me stop hanging out with a lot of my old friends. There were several reasons why this happened; one reason was my schedule was so crazy and I was working so many hours that I was never available when my friends wanted to go out and do things. Another reason was because just by the very nature of the job, when I would talk to any of my friends about it, they wouldn’t really understand where I was coming from a lot of the times. That led to me hanging out with people that I worked with a lot more. Which was fine by me because like I said before, the nature of the job led to me becoming really close with my co-workers. We had to be able to trust each other with our lives, literally! Our conversations at work and away from work just flowed naturally. We were able to vent to each other about things that had taken place and we understood where everyone was coming from.
My good friend and co-worker Tyler and I hung out a lot outside of work. We spent quite a bit of time at the batting cages in Lafayette since we both enjoyed baseball. Well one day while we were at work we were making plans for the upcoming weekend and we had talked about going to the batting cages and then partaking in some putt-putt afterwords. There was a girl who was interning at the Sheriff’s Office; Rachael. Rachael was going to Purdue at the time and studying Law and Society. She was interested in law enforcement and wanted to become a police officer, which is why she was interning at the Sheriff’s Office to begin with. Anyway, Rachael was there while Tyler and I were making plans to go to the batting cages and she expressed interest in going with us. She said that she used to play softball in high school and she would enjoy going and hanging out with us for the day.
The weekend finally came and it was time for us to all get together and head up to Lafayette to hit the batting cages. We spent awhile hitting some balls around and as we tired of that we decided it was time to do a little putt-putting to wind down a bit. After a friendly round of putt-putt everyone agreed they were hungry so we decided to go to Steak-n-Shake which was just across the street. We ate and shared in conversation, having a genuinely good time. As the evening came to an end we decided that we should get together like this on a more consistent basis, just to hang out and have a good time. Before we knew it, several weekends had come and gone. One weekend we decided to go bowling instead of going to the batting cages. And like any good story, there is a story within a story here, I might delve into that later, but for now, I’ll stick to the reason for this story. After our bowling trip, we returned to Frankfort and took Rachael to her house. I took Tyler to his house and then started on my way home. That was when I got a call from Rachael asking if I would like to come over to watch a movie with her. Of course I would!
I went over to Rachael’s house and we watched a movie together. It was late at that point, so instead of driving home, I just spent the night there. The next morning Rachael got a phone call from her dad. He had seen my car in the driveway and he was inquiring about it. He asked her if I was her boyfriend. At that point, neither of us had discussed the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing. That’s when her dad said, “well, if a guy stays overnight with you, he must be your boyfriend.” I think that was the point at which we started dating.
As our relationship grew we eventually got an apartment together in Frankfort. We had a lot of really good times together. We hung out with our friends a lot, making it a point to stay in touch with all of our closest friends. We would get together at least once a week to go out to dinner and we would all hang out at our apartment and watch Rescue Me. It seemed like if we weren’t at work (which we worked together, at the same place, on the same shift) then we were hanging out with friends.
One night after dating for a few years, we were getting ready to go to bed and I realized something wasn’t quite right. I asked Rachael what was bothering her and she said that she just wasn’t happy anymore. She wasn’t happy with where we were in our relationship. She said that she felt like we were stuck in a rut and we were never going to be able to get out of that rut. As hard as I tried to get her to stay and as much as I promised we would get out of this “rut” we were in, it was no use. She was dead set on leaving. After talking about things for a little while she did finally leave, she went to stay with her dad that night. After awhile of sitting in the apartment alone, thinking about things, I decided to call one of my friends, Tommy, to see if he could come over and talk. Tommy came over and we decided to get out of the apartment. We went to one of the local establishments; you know the kind, the ones where people try to drink their problems away. Well, that’s what we set out to do that night. We were drinking and talking about everything that had happened. Tommy was a really good friend of mine, and he wanted to be there for me during this rough time in my life.
A few days later, after Rachael had moved out and everything, I tried calling Tommy to see if he wanted to hang out. Well Tommy didn’t answer his phone, which was odd. At the time I didn’t really think too much about it. It wasn’t until a couple days after that, when I tried calling Rachael that the pieces of this puzzle started putting themselves together. Rachael didn’t answer her phone when I called her either. So that day, right after she didn’t answer, I tried calling Tommy. And low and behold, he didn’t answer! I had a sick feeling in my gut at that moment. A few more days had passed and I started to hear things about Rachael and Tommy spending a lot of time together. As it turns out, the two of them had started dating and neither of them cared to tell me about it.
Several years went by without much communication between me and Tommy or me and Rachael. They moved on to work different jobs so none of us worked together anymore. Eventually Tommy met a girl; they started dating and then got married. Rachael met another guy and they started dating. And I met Amber then we started dating and got married.
Years after all of this happened Tommy, Rachael and I can all sit down and have a civil conversation. Tommy and I have talked about it and we’ve each said what we needed to say and we’re really good friends again. The crazy thing is; fate has brought us all back together. We all work at the same place again. Actually, I work with Rachael again, same place, same shift. Things have kind of come full circle. We’ve each lived our lives and learned our lessons – and we’ve survived!
There are several Bible verses that come to mind when I recall this time in my life’s story. But I think one of the best ones comes from Mark. Chapter 11, verses 25 and 26:
“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your failings and shortcomings.”
For quite some time I felt slighted, as if Tommy and Rachael conspired against me so that they could be together. I held onto this notion for entirely too long and I let it consume too many of my thoughts and it took a lot of energy from me. It wasn’t until I could really forgive them that I could move past this and stop letting it control me. We only live once, and good friends are hard to come by – so remember to forgive quickly!