I am not the kind of guy who holds up his hands on a roller coaster. In fact, I’m just the opposite. I hold on so tight, I leave fingerprints in the steel. How do I know that flimsy restraint bar is going to hold me in? Machines break every day, right? I take no chances.
My friend, Tyler, on the other hand, is a lunatic. He is “hands up” all the way. That’s fine, unless, of course I’m riding next to him. I learned this lesson the hard way last month when we spent the day with some friends at an amusement park.
We rode coasters together five or six times that day, and every time it was the same story. Whenever the roller coaster banked on a curve, Mr. Hands-Up-In-the-Air turned into a human projectile and slammed into me like a sand bag. Not just once but dozens of times. It was like riding next to a 190 pound crash test dummy.
After spending the day with this guy, I had more bruises on me than a heavyweight boxer. My back twinged. My shoulder ached. I felt like I’d survived a plane crash.
But if I had it to do all over, I’d ride with him again. Why? Because it’s more fun than riding alone.
Life is kind of like that. It’s full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and unexpected plunges that take your breath away. But it’s the people you choose to ride with that make all the difference. Sometimes friendship is hard. Sometimes it hurts. But that’s the price we pay being close to people, especially people who are different than us.
The Bible says, “A friend loves at all times.” Really? All times? That seems a bit extreme. What about when your friend’s life gets messy? What about when they’re depressed or irritable or making bad choices? What about when friendship costs you something?
Apparently, yes, each of these circumstances falls under the category of “all times.” Friendship without sacrifice isn’t true friendship at all. It’s just being an acquaintance. Acquaintances are fine, but on the thrill ride of life, you’ll need true friends. Even if they happen to be insane.