I have a love for words and phrases. I’ll read something and then have to write about it. I read the word, stymied, in a book recently and thought it was pretty neato! I probably liked this one because it reminded me of Stymie from the Little Rascals. I love his quote,
“You only meet your once in a lifetime friends… once in a lifetime.”
The boys all had a falling out because of a girl, and the fear of losing their buddy. It reminds me of the friends I used to have and the friends I have now. The good friends, the bad friends, and the best friends and begs me to ask why we are or are not friends anymore.
Stymie means to hinder another from reaching a set or planned goal. That’s not what friends do, is it? Stop each other from reaching our goals? No, it’s not what we should do as friends, but sometimes it’s exactly what we do, intentionally and unintentionally.
Sometimes we don’t like when our friends are successful, especially if we aren’t benefiting or reveling in our own success. We don’t think it’s fair that our highs and lows aren’t coinciding with theirs and we sometimes lose great friendships over it.
Maybe we are failing at all the things while our friend seems to be bounding up ladders at work, school, life, or in social circles. So we try to bring them down to our level out of fear. We don’t cheer them. We don’t encourage them. We belittle them and minimize their efforts. We start to pick them apart and they begin to lose their pieces. We make them think they’re off track, that they’re missing their marks, and that they are less than they really are. And then they act less, then they start losing their grip and slipping down. We’ve intentionally stymied our friend. We broke a thriving person out of our own selfishness and lack of trust in God’s unique path for our life.
Unintentionally stymieing however is something I’m most often guilty of. I hate to admit this because now you’ll all know! And I’ll be held accountable. But I have the absolute best friends and I really want to keep them! We tell each other our hopes, dreams, goals, and struggles and hurts. We share it and bare it all. But when it comes time for me to give advice, I hold back. I know where my friend sits and I know where they want to be, but out of fear, I sugarcoat the truth of what they need to do to get there. I know that the truth might be really hard, that it might hurt, that it might mean they have to change something and I’m afraid to say it out loud even though I know it could make their mountains move.
Today I feel the weight of this word, stymie and know that it all comes down to another word, fear. We are afraid of our failures, afraid of a little grit on the way to our goals, and afraid of words that need to be said.
“These are conversations that need to happen; this is discomfort that must be felt…we have to acknowledge that our lack of tolerance for vulnerable, tough conversations is driving our self-sorting and disconnection,” -Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness.
We fear a life where plans may not make sense, but that fear can lead to losing ourselves and losing our once in a lifetime friends.
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV