Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Pastoral Snare: Vegas Edition (part I)

"Fabulous Las Vegas" is the most egregious misnomer since "Lay School."

Okay, a little back story. A few months ago a friend from work had an awful break up with her long distance boyfriend. I was in sympathetic girl mode when she *casually* mentioned she was probably going to visit her ex for her birthday "just so I won't be alone" I knew it was a trap, but rushed right on in where angels fear to tread, offering to do something, anything with her instead. That's how I found myself in Vegas for a long weekend with my friend and her sister.

I didn't want to go to Vegas with her. She isn't a bad or intentionally unkind person but she is extremely needy, and behaves strangely to get attention. I'm not sure if she's just acting out or if there's something more seriously wrong with her, but it is very hard to take, and although I don't like to admit it; I'm her friend mostly because she doesn't have many others..

All went fairly well until the night of her 27th birthday when --after an ill-advised but harmless comment from her sister-- my friend shouted "You ruined my birthday!" and proceeded to throw a spectacular temper tantrum before running away from the crowded restaurant in tears. The sister and I were both in shock.

I knew I was supposed to do something. Both of these girls were in need of pastoral care, but I was confused.

•Do I stay and comfort the sister, whom I don't really know but is obviously distressed --and in my opinion, right-- or do I chase after the upset, possibly unstable friend, although she was indulging in some pretty unacceptable manipulative behavior?

•How do I comfort anyone without picking sides?

•How can I remind them of God's unwavering love without turning them off when both their beliefs in God are tenuous at best?

•More importantly, what was going to happen to that free piece of chocolate cake?

this post was brought to you by a criminally fat slice of uneaten birthday cake


Anonymous Connie said...

How about another question: Do I do what I need to do to endure the rest of my time in Las Vegas, and not worry too awfully much about the other girls, who will probably be fine? I mete out pastoral care very carefully to friends and relatives ... having learned that I did not want to do it 24/7. But I'm glad you had the impulse!

1:10 AM  
Blogger Rhiannon said...

boy howdy, you said a mouthful. I think that with friends and family there isn't enough healthy distance to give really helpful p.c. Well, it's all resolved now, anyway.

5:54 PM  

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