Raw Visions of a Zealot

1b3c8be7-3051-4868-b223-65e255d364e6.jpgIt’s 2 a.m. and the party is slowly winding down. Your friend – yes, the one who lost every drinking game and collected a graveyard of empty bottles – is fumbling for his or her keys and slurring the words, “No, trust me, I’m good to drive.”

This scenario is far too common in youth binge-drinking scenes. With that said, I am by no means excluding my high school missteps and wildly naive outlook on the issue as an adolescent.

But my lapses in reason are best utilized as learning lessons for my peers and the next generation. If I allow the loss of four close friends to go unheard, if I gloss over the fact that I would have seen them graduate this year but am instead visiting their gravestones, I am shrinking from an opportunity to turn destitution into progress.

So instead of glancing through this article with numb velocity, I challenge you to take something from these words. I am not writing this to shock you or shame you, but to prove that these incidents are tangible, heartbreaking, and completely preventable.

While the recent Diamond Bar crash will be perceived by all who read it as tragic, will it actually change the way we deal with not only our own actions but also cause us to make the difficult resolution to restrain inebriated friends in crucial moments? Much of what being a friend actually looks like is refusing to go along with the person’s ignorance, wrongdoings and self-deprecation.

More times than I am proud to admit, my friend Spencer has called me out on blatantly hateful statements, destructive behavior and attempts to drive home under the influence.

At the time I thought he was being a staunch fool who didn’t know the reality behind things or that he was overacting, but the truth is he respected my intellectual integrity and quite likely saved my life.

Look around you. In art, movies, music, literature and personal experience, do you find the best examples of agape love in ebullient friendships that flee when the conversation gets serious or an intervention is needed?

No, we as fallen human beings need accountability partners. We thirst for structure from our friends and relationships. We need to reanalyze the way we pick our friends. Are they accepted into our lives because they are attractive, wealthy and socially endorsed or because they stare hard into our eyes and say: “You’re wrong and you know it. Give me your keys. Don’t spew those racist words. You are better than the vile picture you are currently painting for yourself.”

One person can inspire you. One person can save your life. We are all capable of being my friend Spencer. Let’s cut through the surface of what our society tells us friendship should be to the powerful foundation of earnest love our Creator instills in each human being.

My father repeated one phrase to me during my most volatile times, and they apply for every circumstance I have yet to face: “It’s not about what’s easy, it’s about what’s right.”

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