Friendship & Purpose

Another day drew to a close after a night of sleepover at The Barrows (more flickr photos here.) It melts my heart to see the children with big smiles. What beautiful, unconditional friendships these kids are nurturing between two cities, in a short time!

I ruminated a little on this and thought about friends, friendship in general, and the inestimable value of a true friend.

Someone who is not our enemy is our friend. People we went to school with were our friends. People we greet daily in our community are friends. People we are acquainted with and feel agreeable towards are our friends. Those with whom we forge a special bond and thrive on their companies when we interact with them are also our friends. Humans are social animals and forming attachments to other people is an inevitable feature of being human. However, varying degrees of intimacy, appreciation, interaction, affection, love and regard are involved in these different types of friendly relationships. The generic term friend, has replaced the more specific meaning which means a person with whom we have a close and intimate relationship, with whom we form a special bond, where both people involved value and understand each other as individuals and accept and appreciate each other as they are.

The essence of friendship has been distilled by Antoine St. Exupéry in “The Little Prince”. He defines friendship as a process akin to taming a wild animal, a formation of bonds. This is a good definition, for in taming something we build bridges of trust, we learn about what we tame, we understand it, we appreciate it. Establishment of bonds is a two-way process. We each gain through that effort a person who becomes different from everyone else for us, a special person. A person whom we can turn to, a person who always has time for us: “I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.” Robert Brault remarked. At the same time, St. Exupéry said, forming bonds creates responsibilities. Being a friend carries with it a mental attitude and an important code of behaviour that should be adhered to.

Friendship involves co-operation. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” Each person must contribute to the creation of the bonds and in the process get to know the other person better. Each person’s virtues and talents are appreciated, their faults and weaknesses forgiven. “True Friendship can afford true knowledge. It does not depend on darkness and ignorance. A want of discernment cannot be an ingredient in it.”~~Henry David Thoreau. There is trust and interdependence in friendship, respect and loyalty. True friends share their lives, the happiness and the misfortune. Especially so the sharing of good fortune and happiness, which a friend can accept without envy or jealousy as, “Too few rejoice at a friend's good fortune.” Aeschylus said. A friend listens, understands, offers advice but doesn’t try to influence your decisions, just accepts them. Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.

Friendship is a universal human need and we all wish to be friends and have friends. We all define the word differently; but we all need the same relationship. To those of you that are blessed with true friends, rejoice in them! Those that feel friendless, take heart in what the good Emerson says--"The only way to have a friend is to be one.”--go out there and make some friends! And to the lucky ones who like me have a partner who is also my best friend, enjoy and be thankful for them. Goodnight!

"It seems to me that the best relationships-- the ones that last-- are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is... suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with." ~~Jeff Bell

1 encouragements:

Stephanie said...

I call people I just meet or those I see on occasion(like kids sports) acquaintences. Friends are people we get to know and really like and spend time with, for me anyway.

I love the quote at the end and you know what my husband is my best friend and we were best friends before we were dating.

True learning-learning that is permanent and useful,that leads to intelligent action and further learning, can arise only out of the experience, interest, and concerns of the learner.
John Holt
Real heroes are men who fall, fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they stayed true to their ideals, beliefs and commitments.
Actor Kevin Costner

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