Once again, this month’s church book club selection surprised me. I just finished “Same Kind of Different as Me: a modern-day slave, an international art dealer and the unlikely woman who bound them together” by Ton Hall and Denver Moore. Quite a title---quite a book. On the surface, it is a memoir about the friendship between a homeless man and an international art dealer. Along the way, the reader becomes caught up in the lives of three people. This book had me laughing one minute and crying the other.
How does an international art dealer (Ron) meet and befriend a modern-day slave (Denver)? Following a marital indiscretion and a renewed commitment to his marriage, Ron follows his wife Debbie’s lead and begins to volunteer at a homeless shelter in Dallas. It is through this active commitment to missions that Ron and Denver are changed forever. At one point in the book Ron asks Denver to be his friend. To which Denver answers his question by addressing his own bafflement with the “white folk” fishing practice of “catch and release”.
Denver went on. “I just can’t figure it out. ‘Cause when colored folks go fishin, we really proud of what we catch, and we take it and show it off to everybody that’ll look. Then we eat what we catch…in other words, we use it to sustain us. So it really bothers me that white folks would go to all that trouble to catch a fish, then when they done caught it, just throw it back in the water.”
“So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: If you is fishin for a friend you just gon’ catch and release, then I ain’t got no desire to be your friend.”
“But if you is looking for a real friend, then I’ll be one. Forever.” (p107)
Talk about powerful. How many times do we “catch and release” friendships? We excuse ourselves when friendships become difficult or circumstances change. We often expect more of friends than we require of ourselves. When complicated friendships begin to wane, we just let them go—release them. We invest time and energy into the lives of others up to a point, as long as the relationship is easy. I am not talking about unhealthy or abusive friendships; I am talking about choosing to disengage because the friendship is too demanding or we just don’t want the complication in our lives. In releasing these friendships, we rob ourselves the practice of grace and the blessings ascribed to such an exercise.
These thoughts force me examine my own “catch and release” track record. Am I requiring more of those I have released, than I do of myself? Have I made bogus excuses so that I can “feel better” about the release? Just as Denver, I am not interested in investing in a catch and release friendships. I don’t think anyone is. I want the integrity and courage to maintain friendships even when they may get difficult. I want the opportunity to practice grace and to work through the “hard stuff”. I want my friendships to be forever.
Writing Challenge - Forever Changed
6 years ago