White House senior advisor David Axelrod was on “Morning Joe” this morning. At one point he relayed an expression he had heard. It went something like this: An associate of his who was struggling with Washington politics said to him “I’m going back to Chicago, at least there, they stab you in the front”. This is obviously a comment about Washington politicians who stab you in the back. And while Chicago politics is tough, at least they don’t blind side; they come at you fair and square from the front.
As I thought about this concept of “being stabbed in the front” I had a completely different interpretation when I applied it to my own life. I recently reconnected with my very best friend in the world. And he’s been in my life longer than anyone I know. Although we were out of contact for a while, we have the kind of friendship that is unconditional and non-judgemental. I didn’t like that we hadn’t spoken for so long, but it wasn’t because we were mad at each other. I don’t think we’ve ever been mad at each other. We’ve gone for somewhat long periods of time without contact but when we finally get in touch, it is as if we just spoke the day before. No pretense, no judgement. Just understanding and an honest love for one another that transcends time. He’s the one person to whom I can always tell the truth.
So for me, the concept of being stabbed in the front means something different. To me, it means that my best friend will tell me the truth no matter what. And I am not hurt by it because it is not meant to hurt me. True friends can be truly honest with each other, they know when to tease, and they know when to listen. I believe that few people in the world have ever experienced a friendship like I have with my best friend. I know I am not completely alone. I know other good friendships are out there. But they certainly are not as common as they should be.
Maybe it sounds strange to some to compare “getting stabbed in the front” to a great friendship. But it makes sense to me. From the front, there is no fear because you see it coming, you know it might hurt but you know the intent. And the best thing is that when you are about to be stabbed from the front, you can step aside, just a little, and avoid the stab completely, and just give a hug.
To my best friend, thank you for all the years of laughter. I hope we have many more.