Thursday, November 29, 2007

Friendship: that bittersweet cup

Friendship, is a notion that I took so much for granted that frankly, at this point of time, I cannot remember what it should mean. What does friendship mean? What does being a friend entail? Many times the mention of "Friend" leaves me cold, or jaded, or cynical. How many times do we say "friend" to conceal a more particular nature of our relationship with someone (whether it means closer or further)? For me, too many times.

I guess the reason why I wrote this post is that, being in friendship is not easy. Two reasons: expectations and fragility.

I recall with some sadness, several occasions when I had been let down, very much let down, by people whom I thought were friends. Part of this, naturally, has got to do with mismatched expectation. For a certain friend, being friends means you just have to be available 24/7 whenever they need a shoulder to cry on. For others, that's too much to ask even in a close friendship. In my better moments, I thought to myself, that if _that_ much (or rather, that little) is all that person has got to offer me, I'll take it up gladly anyway. "Give until it hurts," Mother Teresa once said, and nowhere do I feel this more keenly than in some friendships.

After all, it's not easy being a good friend! Another thing I associate with friendship, is both always having to, and, being able to say sorry! I have lost count of how many times I have to precede a conversation with "Sorry", simply because life or some other Passing Interest in my life, had taken up so much time that I forget this or that particular friend for many months or even years... So, for each time that I feel disappointed with a friend, I remind myself that there must be many more friends I am disappointing!

Few "self-improvement" atention is paid to developing friendships.. it is as if the world takes it for granted that everyone innately knows how to make and sustain friendships. Magazines publish articles on how to succeed better at your workplace, how to eat better, how to shop better, but hardly anything on how to be better friends. Perhaps it's true that as children we make friends naturally, but adult life definitely takes toll on friendship; and without much attention paid to our friendships, perhaps someday we may literally wake up to find we don't have real friends.

Another reason for this thread of thought, is that our life very much depends on our friendship with God. Even this relationship gets neglected in the same way that I decribe my neglect of mortal friends. How we treat our friendships is a reflection of how we treat our friendship with God. May there not be a day where we meet Our Lord and found that He does not recognize us as His friends!

No comments: