When you hear the word “loyalty”, what comes to your mind? The reason I’m asking is because it’s one of those topics that seem to be surfacing in every corner of my world lately. I always try to pay attention when there’s a recurring theme so I don’t miss the lesson.

Sometimes, I imagine my guardian angels (or spirit guides or other frustrated invisible beings in charge of me) throwing their hands up in the air at my hopelessness in figuring out the clues they keep sending. I think it’s for this reason that they send me a barrage all at once.

I work as a realtor in downtown Decatur and I have the greatest work wife in the world. Sometimes, it’s only Jenn and I in the empty office space and we end up talking about friendships, relationships and the struggles we are facing, including my dad’s terminal illness. We often act as each other’s sounding boards, cheerleaders and therapists. Her value has no end.

I came in last week and informed her that it was a “red flag” day for me. That’s our code for “Please forgive me in advance for being such a crybaby bitch today.” These are verbal “get out of jail free” cards we issue to each other as a reminder to not take our hormones personally.

With gentle inquiries, Jenn coaxed me to tell her about that morning’s difficult visit with my father who suffers from a brain tumor. I also told her that I’d just found out that someone who was a dear friend mentioned that a new girl she’d just met felt insecure about our friendship and said if they were to date, we could never be alone together.

For a week prior, she had reassured me that nobody would ever come between us, that our friendship was far too valuable and she was not going to pursue a relationship with someone who wanted to dictate her friendships. However, that morning and after inquiries from me, she admitted that she was “weak” and enjoyed a strong woman telling her what to do. She caved to this person’s silly demands to govern the time that we can spend together.

It was painful. After all, my girlfriend, Kelly, used to feel the same insecurity about this friend. But when I told her how important the friendship was to me, she whipped out one of her Brene´ Brown books and worked through her insecurity, not making it my problem. She came back to me with her blessing on the friendship.

As Jenn listened to my broken heart, she took on my weight. But she framed it in a great light for me so that I could see the lesson:

When life shows you who is loyal, you pour yourself into loyal people. When life shows you who isn’t loyal, you let that person sink to the bottom of your cares list. The experience gave me a much greater appreciation for my girlfriend and the work that she did on herself to show me love. It also allowed me to see that this friend that held a high place in my heart needed to be relegated to a lower position.

The late, great Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” My angels, spirit guides and invisible beings in charge of my journey have worked very hard to help me learn this lesson. It’s taken some time but now, I’m passing it on to you for free. You’re welcome.

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