The internal debate is a familial one.

We invest emotion in friends in the same way we invest emotion in each other. Our friends become our family. This is a trust on our part.

The difference between blood Wests and friend  Wests, we have found, is that very few friends will return that investment. But emotion – compassion – drives us to take a certain risk.

I cannot count the number of times my trust has been returned to me in unkindness. I have been betrayed, hurt, rejected, ignored and friendships have been broken.

Why did I trust someone in the first place? Why did I make new friends when I knew from experience that it contained much risk for me? Should I ever trust anyone again? Should I even bother making new friends? That is the internal debate.

Depth of character is something we Wests have many times over. This does not always hold true for some of the friends we welcome into our lives, hearts and family. Our friendship is not offered superficially. When a friend callously manipulates or rejects one of us, we are hurt deeply, probably more than that friend could appreciate or ever even understand.

Would we trade depth of character for a life of superficiality, West Family? I think not. For one, we can’t change how we are, and I don’t think we should.

But we can place our trust more carefully. We can always trust each other – our blood. We can trust those friends who have proven themselves time and again, by giving of their time, support and heart.

If you are a West (or Johnson or Baker, etc.), you are part of this elite group that will go to every end for each other. If you are Lauren Conn or Christy Chupp, you are part of this group. If you are someone who has not only laughed with a West, but cried with a West too, you are here, in our hearts. And don’t you ever forget or wrong us so gravely that it will require us to kick your ass. Because we can do that, too.

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