Morals, Ethics and Friendship
Dear Margo: I have a close friend I’ve known for 10 years, and every Friday night we get together for Shabbat with other good friends and family. He has gone through some difficult times over the years, losing a very long-term relationship and his beautiful home. We have all been there for him, emotionally and financially. Our Friday night group is a wonderful support system we’ve all relied on over the years.
Recently, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) broke down his front door, ransacked his place and then hauled him off to jail. It turns out that he is accused of being part of a Methamphetamine trafficking ring they’ve been monitoring for the past two years. He was released on bail after a few days and is awaiting trial. He has not denied what he is accused of, but doesn’t seem to think it should interfere with our friendship. I am shocked that he may be involved in something so onerous and harmful. I hate the thought of abandoning him and our long friendship, but I fear that my association with him may put my reputation and even my job in jeopardy. What should I do? — On the Horns of a Dilemma
Dear On: This is, indeed, a hard call. Friends stand by friends, hell or high water. In this case, however, the high water is a destructive criminal activity. The fact that he has not denied it (to the friends) suggests the charge is true. I’m not sure how his difficulty could have any impact on your livelihood, but if it does, then you will have to get out your emotional scale and balance all the factors.
Then, too, some people have very strong feelings about people who deal drugs, and I am one of them. I think there are times when a good friend forfeits a relationship when the other person has gone beyond what he deems acceptable. From the sound of things, you did not have this information before the DEA entered the picture, so I guess I would tell you to put the friendship on ice until after the trial. That verdict will determine the outcome. — Margo, unhappily
Other People’s Actions Are Not Your Failure
Dear Margo: My son and daughter-in-law are newly separated and heading for a divorce. They are trying to get along for my grandson’s sake. My son told me last night that when they were expecting a second baby two years ago, they terminated the pregnancy for a couple of reasons. My daughter-in-law wanted the baby, but my son pushed for an abortion. I’m absolutely devastated; I can’t look my son in the face. I am Catholic, and abortion goes against everything I believe. And my son told me not to tell anyone! I feel I’ve failed as a mother. I am so heartbroken that I want to die. — Grieving Grandmother
Dear Grieve: I don’t understand why your son wanted you to have that information at this late date, but there you are. He is clearly a lapsed Catholic; whereas, he has to know you take your Catholicism seriously. The bottom line, however, is that it is the parents’ decision about whether or not to have a child.
My guess is they sensed, at the time, that the marriage was unraveling, and they didn’t feel they wanted to bring another baby into the world. You in no way failed as a mother. In fact, this has nothing to do with you. I hope you can arrive at an understanding of the situation in this light. I think any person of faith must allow others to live life as they see fit. I suggest you concentrate on your grandson during what has to be a confusing time for him. And I would look forward, not back. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. — Margo, understandingly
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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