While there are embellishments to that story (I am a lot taller than yoda) the skeleton of it is a real situation for me at the moment and it poses is a question I find myself coming back to time and time again.
When people I love are making bad decisions, how can I help? (Disclaimer: Obviously I am guilty of the very same things I accuse my friends of being in this article, I wouldn't want you to think I was some pretentious, egotistical, delusional and perfectly groomed individual)
What is the role of the caring (and handsome) friend? When we see our friends acting in ways which betray beliefs they themselves claim to cling to.
I am currently in the middle of a situation just like as I have described; however in respect to the parties involved, I'm not about to air their dirty laundry in public, so take this finely crafted example instead.
Imagine someone who claims to hate drinking alcohol, claims to hate it because of all the damage it has done both in their own personal life but also to society as a whole. Imagine the shock their friends would feel after they find him or her throwing back various rainbow colour liquids with the cool kids during O-Week.
Or just imagine someone who clung so strongly to a belief that the idea of them breaking it couldn't even enter your mind.
My friend (I also use friends or them as there is more than one) is currently involved in a lifestyle choice that for as long as I have known them they have been against, vehemently against. Recently I found out about it, my friend has no idea I knew, because I didn't know how to broach the subject with him. I even do not know whether I have the right to talk to him about something he has not brought up with me - our timetables have meant we haven't been able to catch up for a while.
When I found out about my friend's choice, I was really disappointed. I felt betrayed, how could they make such a stupid choice, how could they betray themselves and their beliefs? Then my mind began to wander, why didn't they think they could tell me about this? Had their beliefs changed since we last spoke?
As the thunderous sea of emotion in me settled to a quiet murmur I began to ask myself a few questions.
Why was I so hurting?
Why was I so hurt by my friend's choice? After all it doesn't affect me. What is it about them making this choice that affects me so much? Why do I feel the need to intervene at all? Why hasn't my friend felt safe enough to talk to me about what is going on? If my friend doesn't want help, who am I to force it on him?
As I plunged through this list of questions I came to a few realisations about myself.
I love my friends dearly, I truly desire the best for them in all that they do, and when they don't live up to the greatness I see in them it hurts me, not because they have wronged me but because they have wronged themselves, even if they can't see it.
So I settled on this question "What does it mean to love people?" What does love look, feel, taste and smell like.
Then this story came to mind, for those of you that have older siblings perhaps you can relate to the experience.
Whenever I had any success in my life, at school, or in sport or any area of achievement and the people around me sang my praises. I always noted the muted response from my brothers. This continued throughout my whole young life so once I had gotten older I asked one of my brothers why he never congratulated me for my achievements when other people could see me doing well, my brothers reply was this;
"It's not that I don't see it in you, it's because I see much, much more than they see. I am not going to celebrate mediocrity for you, as someone who loves you I will never let you be anything other than the best version of yourself, no matter how that makes you feel, it's not about making you feel good, it's about making you be great"
Love is not merely an emotion, as my friend John says, "Love is a verb".
I sat with this memory for a while, and realised something. I have learnt that the very same love that is responsible for me getting hurt by my friends when they make stupid decisions comes from a place of wanting the best for them. It is because of how great they are in the first place that makes it hard to see them miss the mark of that greatness, and it is that very same love which makes me want to help them, why I want to journey with them, and why I want them to journey with me. That is the nature of love, the more you have for a person, the more you are willing to suffer them, with them and for them.
A strong love
This does not mean love is not soft or toothless, again that same love I have for my friends is why I am responsible to speak into their lives and they into mine. Without it I have no right or reason to think of speaking into their situations.
I demand a lot of my friends, not because they should live up to my standards, but because they have demonstrated to me time and time again how they surpass even my wildest dreams for them.
My adoration and affection for them grows each and every time they break the walls of my mind with their beauty. So when they fall short, and they stumble, that same love reminds me of who they can be, of their potential and that same love causes me to get angry and hurt and write articles about love (eww gross!).
Now once again that very same love will colour my actions, that same love will prompt me to confront my friend and to engage with them over a tough issue, it will force me to make them a large batch of afghan biscuits sit down with them over a cup of tea and remind them that I love them, and that they are an idiot.
Because that's what it looks like to love (us) idiots. Love is demanding, because love is great, because love is ferocious and because love is hard.
John 13 verse 34: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Trent Hohaia is a graduate from Te Whare Wananga o Waikato with a Bachelors degree in Tikanga Maori and Sociology. Fond of embellishments and sometimes outright lies, Trent is in love with his people, and is on a journey of restoration and development for Maori in Aotearoa.
Trent Hohaia's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/trent-hohaia.html