March, 2014 / Author:

The group welcomes a new friend, and learns a lesson in respect

Ray Buteau

Upon entering the coffee shop, Robert buys a coffee and spots the now-three amigos. He greets Danny and Tom and their mutual friend Jan. “It’s nice to meet you Jan, I’ve been looking forward to speaking with the three of you about your relationships. But before we start, can I ask how the three of you met?” “We are all members of the Pride committee, which is all about being out in the world, and we really enjoy being together,” says Jan. “Which explains how Danny found himself at the front of your Pride rainbow float,” says Robert. “Danny quickly staked out his spot on the float,” Jay agrees. Danny interrupts with a smile, “I’m sure you want to add something to that, don’t you, Robert?” “Unless someone says something different from what we are all thinking – no need,” Robert smiles back. “I think I’m going to enjoy these coffee breaks,” Jan adds. Robert then says, “Anything’s possible once we have at least one other person to tell our story to and to know that we can trust them with it.” Seemingly anxious to get on topic, Tom says, “So where do we start?” Robert begins by saying, “For the three of you to survive through any hurtful words, instances of jealousy, misunderstandings, disappointments, or personality quirks, what is the key word that will keep the three of you sensitive and compassionate to each other?” “That was an easy question,” Danny responds. “Money.” With all eyes glaring at Danny in disbelief, Jan asks Danny, “So if we knew you didn’t have any spending money, Tom and I wouldn’t want to be friends with you?” “Without responding to that yet,” Robert asks, “I would like to ask the three of you for the keyword that is so important in your relationships.” Jan responds with “forgiveness.” “That will often be necessary,” adds Robert, “but something is necessary for any sort of relationship to last.” “Robert, give us a break, we really do like each other,” Tom blurts out. “When I met with you, Danny, the keyword of our talks was ‘acceptance’. And when I met with you, Tom, the key word in our talks was ‘gratitude’. And now with the three of you, there is a keyword that each of you requires from each other.” “Something tells me that my answer was wrong,” Danny says with his usual grin. “Actually, Danny,” Robert explains, “many pretend and manipulate each other for the sole reason of using their money, or to attract others to themselves, which goes totally against the word that I’m looking for.” “How does anyone know who to trust?” Tom asks. “Trust your gut feeling, Tom,” Robert says, “and remember the keyword in your relationship: ‘respect’. If the three of you can respect each other, you won’t play games with each other. You’ll trust the confidence and sincerity of what you say to each other.” “And when we hurt another’s feelings?” Jan asks. “That’s when your respect for the other challenges you to ask to be forgiven or to clarify your words,” Robert responds. “And if the other is respectful of you, they will accept your apology and move on.” “And if they don’t?” Jan insists. “Then you have a choice to make, to either forgive in your heart and move on from a painful experience in which respect was denied, or to allow the negative energies of hurt, regret and anger to fester within you,” Robert adds sombrely. “Man, this is heavy,” Danny adds softly, “I sure could use another coffee right now.” “And if you’re wondering if Danny is just joking,” adds Robert, “your friendship and respect for each other will allow you to be open, yet kind and sensitive with each other, knowing that you wouldn’t willingly hurt each other, out of respect for each other.” “Does all that mean I’m paying for my own coffee?” Danny asks, causing the group to break out in laughter. “Danny,” Robert adds, “I’ll see you next time for our coffee together, and I’ll pay.”

– Ray Buteau is a former Catholic priest and author of the book No Longer Lonely. You can visits Ray’s website at

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