This topic has always been close to my heart. I consider myself very blessed to have the number of true friends I have. As I write now I am reminded of David and Jonathan’s great friendship in the Bible. They made a sacred promise to each other: to be loyal to each other and if either of them died, the surviving one was to extend the same loyalty to the other’s family. In Greek Mythology, two best friends from Sicily: Pythias and Damon demonstrated the same loyalty to one another. While visiting Syracuse, Pythias talked badly about the king and was arrested then condemned to death. He asked to be allowed to go home and bid farewell to his family then return to be killed. Damon offered to stay in prison for him until Pythias returned. Pythias took long to come back but Damon was sure that he would return out of their strong bond of friendship. Just as Damon was being led out to be killed, his exhausted friend rushed in to take his place. It surprised and impressed the king so much that he spared Pythias’ life and went on to keep both men at his court as advisors.
Friendship is about loyalty, affection, honesty, mutual respect and trust.
In the late 80s, I remember watching the film entitled Lace based on a fiction novel by the British writer Shirley Conran . Four well- to- do girls attending a finishing school in the Swiss Alps became best friends. They did most of the things together and mastered the art of covering for each other. They did it so well that when one of them fell pregnant and later delivered the baby; you could not tell who among them was the mother. Their mantra was: “Through thick and thin.” The French girl had difficulty in pronouncing this so for her it became: Through Sick and sin!’’
There are two best friends that I have known since childhood now well into their eighties. Whenever you see the first one, the second one is just round the corner. Sadly the youngest died last October leaving the older one totally lost. Whenever I meet her at a function she tells me that her best friend is not replaceable and that she feels as if a part of her missing.
My best friend and I have been each other’s best friend since we were thirteen years old! We were attending a missionary primary boarding school. We are now grandparents. We have nurtured each other and created situations that have helped us to grow and develop. Each one feels valued and cared for. This has enabled us to nurture relationship with others. Over the years, we have become accepting of each other without fearing to be swallowed up by the other. We have learned from each other to give without expecting anything back and when it comes; then each one opens her heart to receive from the other. We have guided, comforted and supported one another through thick and thin.
We have similar backgrounds, similar principles and values. We have many unwritten laws between us about money, dating, punctuality, and parenthood. At our age, we have come to a point where each one can anticipate the other’s need and sometimes the answer. When our last headmistress retired to the United Kingdom, she would use either address to send us her annual Christmas message to all old girls of the school. She told me that she was sure that whoever received the two, would gladly deliver to the other friend!
The bond we have has always awakened a healthy sense of loving and caring and has helped each one to recognize and develop her talents and abilities. It has given us the confidence and strength to go out to do and give more to others.
My best friend knows me more than myself and has remained the ‘constant’ in the equation of my life. Her family and friends became mine and mine became hers. Each one of us feels safe and at home with the other. She is one person I know for sure who wishes others achievements, great abundance and freedom. Like all survivors, we have both extremes of the same traits. Depending on the situation, we can choose to be terribly serious or terribly funny. We have been able to get away with a number of things.
It has not been plain sailing, there are times when we have bruised and neglected each other. We have taken this in our stride by comforting and supporting one another to learn from the mistakes and grow.
We have lived through decades of civil strife in our country but amazingly, we have learned and grown from the many challenges and problems that we have had to face together and as individuals. Each one of us learned early on to love and nurture, respect herself before reaching out to nurture the family and the community. We have always set limits and boundaries first to protect one’s self and then the two of us.
A mountain of well-kept photographs keeps the cherished moments of our friendship of over fifty years, close. We have photographs of the two of us together on confirmation day, graduations, weddings, births and baptisms of our children and their graduations and weddings.
She has enriched my life beyond words while I tried the best I could too. She has never been too busy to help me; she has inspired me to go out and do more and give more. When we choose to give we give fully and completely so we find it easy to say no if we know we cannot give of our best.
We shall continue to nurture, support and inspire one another while at the same time thanking God for this fulfilling, lasting relationship that has shaped our characters.
Some quotes about genuine friendship:
“Friendship is always a responsibility, never an opportunity.’’ Khalil Gibran
“ A perfect white, round and smooth pearl is a rare find. Whoever finds it is made very happy.” Jane Nannono
Thank you for visiting my Blog. I would like to hear about your experiences of true friendship. Feel free to share this post so as to encourage others to cultivate and nurture true friendships.