Hold Fast To Your Friendships
It is said that a person is fortunate if he or she has a half dozen real friends throughout a lifetime. I believe that. Most of us have hundreds of acquaintances but real friendship is rare.
Think about it. How many people are there with whom you can strip away the masks we all wear and be yourself, warts and all, wounds and all. How many people would you trust with the information that you had cheated on an exam or stolen money or had an affair? How many accept you unconditionally without expecting you to be perfect? There is a reason real friends are rare.
A close friendship with another human being is a gift from God. It enables us to accept and be accepted for who we are. With a friend, we share our hidden longings, our deepest secrets, our shadow side, because we trust our friend at a level we dare not go with mere acquaintances,
Friendship goes beyond mere acceptance. Friends support one another, laugh and cry with one another, get goofy, act weird, rejoice in our little victories as though they were their own. True friends share an intimacy with one another that is rare in life. Someone described intimacy as “in-to-me-see.” Not a bad description of real intimacy. Only close friends can trust another person enough to invite him inside his soul.
Friendship knows no boundary of age or gender or race. During this past year, I, this Irish Catholic, former priest, lost my best friend, a Polish-born Jewish professor, 18 years older than I. It was a devastating loss because, with the exception of my wife, I had felt closer to him than to any other human being. How do you explain that kind of thing except to acknowledge that friendship has a way of transcending background and beliefs and all the other stuff that we foolishly allow to divide us.
My friend's passing did serve to remind me again of the transitory nature of all our relationships. The pity is, if a friendship is lost, not due to a friend's death but because we have let it die. Your friend moves away; you take different career paths; whatever the reason, you lose track of someone who was a real soul mate. You let yourself fall out of friendship. Ah! That's a shame.
If you don't mind some codgerly counsel, don't let that happen to you. Hold on for dear life to your real friends. There are few things in life more precious.