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Nobody Asked Me: if I wanted new friends!

Who Was Your Partner in Crime?

By, Rev. Howard C. Earle, Jr., D.Min.

I had a great childhood. I was an all-American boy through and through. I grew up in an era when the ultimate entertainment was to play outside. Video games were only accessible at the arcade which was only visited on special occasions like a birthday party. There was always plenty of mischief and there was usually an accomplice. My accomplice was Stacy and he was usually my partner in crime. Stacy lived across the street, and he was a few years older than me, and therefore somewhat advanced in childhood mischief in comparison to me. One evening our mischief got the best of us and we escalated our mischief to a higher level. On this fateful day we thought it would be fun to throw rocks at passing cars. I’ll never forget the terror I felt when we were called in by my dad and his grandfather for questioning. My Dad asked Stacy, “Was Howard throwing rocks?” Stacy looked at me with compassion, empathy, pity, sadness, and any other negative emotion appropriate for the moment as he said, “A little bit.” In the moment, it was torture. I watched my friend fight gallantly to try to protect both our friendship and his own life. The interrogation was grueling as my dad and his grandfather played good cop, bad cop. But we held our own and we lived to play another day.

Unforgettable memories and lessons.

In the moment, the whole ordeal was harrowing. Now, almost 40 years later, I realize I was learning and developing a critical life skill. Stacy was adventurous, energetic, passionate about life, smart, funny, just downright cool. I’m sure his being older than me had a lot to do with my infatuation but he was cool, nonetheless. My relationship with Stacy was just one of many that have had tremendous impact on my life thus far. Relationships are critical to our well-being because that’s how we were created. We are all relational beings. I’m sure if you took the time to reflect on memorable moments and experiences in your life, there were others present. Our lives are enriched by the presence of others as we navigate the terrain of life. Our children push us, challenge us, and inspire us to be better. Our spouses do the same. Whether it was neighbors, coworkers, teammates, or relatives, we’ve all had people in our lives who have helped make our lives what they are to this day.

Who were your partners in crime in childhood? What was the mischief that you engaged in that made you run like crazy, laugh until you couldn’t talk, and feel alive? These were questions we engaged in one of our Nobody Asked Me groups. I’m smiling even now as I write thinking about some of the stories that were shared. Don’t let the grey hair, hearing aids, and walkers fool you; Beacon Hill residents are wild! But along with the nostalgia of memorable moments with those we love, there is the reality of looming loneliness that comes with aging. Loss of loved ones and relationships is one of the painful realities of aging. Often, the coping strategy employed both consciously and subconsciously is the avoidance of making new friends. God has made us for relationships and the pain of loss of relationships is often best assuaged by forming other relationships. While aging may take things from us like our mobility and vision, it can’t touch friendship. In fact, friendship is a healthy way to sweeten the aging journey.

Nobody asked you if you wanted new friends, but life is an adventure most enjoyed when taken with others. Join us for more great discussion on Mondays at 2:00 pm on the Vistas patio or in the Vistas Lounge or Tuesdays at 9:30 am in the Chapel. Until then, find your partner in crime and go get into some good trouble!

You belong here.

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Beacon Hill at Eastgate is a distinctive, not-for-profit retirement community located in Grand Rapids’ desirable Eastgate neighborhood.

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