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To me, friendships are vital.
Ha! You may yelp, what of health? OK, good health would be a great thing to have, but without my caring friends, my poor health would be unbearable.
Ah! You shout, and what about financial security? Well, let me assure you it has been our friends who have eased our way through 28 years of a physiologically wearing struggle to make ends meet.
Ho! You yell, security of home tenure is a comfort which spreads deep inside and wells outwards, creating an environment within which you can flourish with ease and joy. Staying in this one hallowed spot, you build your social network to suit your lifestyle.
Yup, you might be surprised to hear that I agree, but having had to move constantly seeking existence we could afford (11 times in 28 years!), each place has been made bearable by the presence of our friends.
Huh! You grunt, so what of purpose? Well, yes, that’s a vital too. Each animal’s purpose is to survive, to propagate, to be comfortable, yet humanity achieved these millennia ago and we’re left with the purpose hole. If we don’t have family, we fill it with hobbies, creativity, all sorts of things, but family and friends fill the purpose hole like nothing else. I can’t imagine my life without my wife, my best friend.
Friends mean different things to each of us. For some they are those to whom we turn to when we want a good time. To others they are those who turn up on your doorstep demanding a cup of something warm or even a glass of hooch.
I have these sorts of contacts too, but for me they are on the edge. When we lived in a thriving city we were the epicentre of our social scene. Every day we’d have people turn up for breakfast before they went to work, others dropped in at the end of their day, one or two stayed the night so as to discuss marital problems. On weekends they’d drop in as they were on their way here or there. Two or three times a week somebody pooped in to share our evening meal, we also threw weekly dinner parties and arranged popular picnics in the countryside or beach parties and had two proper parties a year.
We stopped these when my mother, who lived with us, died. But neighbours complained. They loved parading around the block banging cooking pots, glass bowls and whatever made a pleasing sound as we sang in the New Year. They loved dancing in the street outside our house, dashing inside to change the record or fill up their glasses.
But you know, when hard times hit not one of these joyful and bright people kept up with us. Our house was suddenly empty. Well, that’s a fib, one did, but when we met up a year later he was so busy talking about himself, although I’d loaned him hours, days, weeks, months, years even, of my uncritical ear as he went through an unfair divorce, he didn’t notice that I was walking with two crutches. My highlighting this observational mishap terminated that long-lasting relationship.
Oh, one other person from that scene kept in touch. But then he’s a real friend. So what do I mean by that? He cares, he rings, he listens and we are honest with one another. As he shares his troubles and I mine, we reach universal understandings and touch the edges of empathy and draw this powerful skill into our friendship. We love one another, although we each live with women we intensely love.
That is friendship and how difficult it is to find. Ho and how hard it is to find anyone capable of it. Yet how easy it is to have. This I know well, for I am fortunate to have more than one such friend.
Sent from my iPad