Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Friendship – the art of infinite hope

November 18, 2012

I have reached such an age and lived a life such that I have friends across the planet and across quite an age range.  I consider this part of my life to be both essential and empowering. To have friends is to be affirmed, to be loved, to be accepted for who you are. Friends are as important as lovers and family.

Friendship is as much about forgiveness as about sharing and doing things together. We all manage to hurt those we care about, whether through carelessness, or some degree of malice. Being alive, being in relationships means we fall out, we drift apart: we forget why we were friends.

Watch small children, teenagers – what hurts them the most is not bullying (another blog) but when they fall out with their friends. They hate being shut out, ignored or forgotten. Often they don’t really know what’s happened or why – why the nasty comment, the not invited to the movies, the silence in the room?

As a parent the very worst thing is when you can’t mend or fix things for your child, when you can’t make their friends like them again, or explain why they’ve behaved as they have.

 

It’s also one of the mysteries of our own life – why do we fall out with our own friends? Consider the following:

Distance – when we move apart the closeness and sharing we once had becomes difficult unless we’re willing to work to keep the friendship going. FaceBook has overcome this to a large extent and we should be grateful for that but we’ve still got to post regularly and send messages to keep the love going.

Romance – this is a killer! Your friend’s partner (or your own) may not like you, or you them and it puts an enormous strain on friendship. There are ways around this, mainly to do with patience and kindness and a strong desire to keep the friendship going. Remember love is blind – for all of us – and sometimes your friends endure longer than your lovers and even when you do settle down you still need your friends. Being a friend when your friend has a boor or a fool or a bitch for a partner can kill the strongest friendship.

Core beliefs – this is where essentially you do not accord with your friend on a fundamental basis about questions of ethics, morality, politics, religion. If you see the world too differently it can push you apart. You can adjust to an extent but if it is fundamental to who you are, ie you are a confirmed tree loving Greenie and your friend is all for progress and business development then your friendship will fundamentally fail.

Trauma – illness, death, divorce, some of life’s nastier moments rent friendship in two. Sometimes your friends (you?) cannot muster the strength to be there for your friend when they need you most. Seeing your friend struggling through chemotherapy, getting over a stroke, dealing with the loss of a child or spouse can be too hard for some of us. We can hover at the edges, send flowers, bake a casserole, do the garden but when the trauma is on-going as these matters usually are, we need our friends to hang in and not everyone has that sort of stamina. Perhaps they feel that being too close will somehow taint their lives too?

Treachery – a wide and encompassing category. Sometimes our friends let us down so badly, they betray us so deeply it is a treasonable offence. The friend who steals our lover or partner; the friend who chooses the side against us; the friend who smiles with us but gossips about us; the friend who is so charming and beguiling it takes us ages to work out they are under-mining us, telling lies, betraying our secrets and trust. Treachery comes in many shades of crimson.

But sometimes, sometimes we can come back from these things, sometimes the core of our friendship survives. Sometimes, and usually this is after time has passed and the wound has healed with the scar barely visible, we can find our way to let our friend back into our lives. Forgiveness comes in many colours of blue, shade of forgiveness that heal us as well as our friends.

Time allows the pain of betrayal, of being let down to fade, and if we’re lucky the good times of the friendship find their way back to the surface of your life and you can have your friend back again. But perhaps with a more cautious heart… (Images courtesy Google Images)

 

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Silly Advice for Serious Times

October 25, 2011

It’s dangerous out there, so take care.

Don’t swim with the sharks (or the crocodiles). They can take nasty great chunks out of you, rip your limbs off and kill you. This occurs in deep water, shallow pools and on dry land. Dry land sharks are the most deadly, especially ones at work and in the pub – you should avoid wolves too.

Don’t play in the traffic. Keep to the paths, avoid cyclists, women with prams, teenagers with iPods, hoods, scooters, old people who dodder along and get in your way. Don’t cross the road without looking, use traffic lights but still look, listen, look again. There’s too much traffic, most of it going too fast and not remotely interested in pedestrian rights. Navigate skilfully and you will not get hurt.

Don’t pet strange dogs. All dogs other than your own are strange and can be relied upon to behave strangely. Always ask the owner if you can touch their dog before doing so. Don’t presume anything. If you are a post-man keep clear of all dogs, they know you hate them.

Don’t tweet, email or FB rudeness about your boss or colleagues. Oh God it is so tempting but you will regret it, sooner or later. So slag them off in the pub, loudly and then claim you were drunk and can’t remember. The spoken word can be denied, the written one will always bite you on the bum.

Don’t work with children, old people, sick people or criminals. The caring professions suck, you don’t get paid enough, are blamed for the ills of the world and are more likely to be abused by your charges as appreciated. Don’t be a banker either, find something that makes you happy and keeps you afloat, financially speaking and doesn’t cause the planet any more pain.

Don’t believe that books are dying. The publishing industry is alive and well, just diversifying. People will want to hold a book in their hands a bit longer; students will want to scribble and underline key points; people like to unwrap books on Xmas Day. Video did not kill the radio star or the movies so e-books will not kill real books.

Don’t believe that the end of the world is nigh. Yes, it is grim out there, but it’s been grim for some parts of the world forever – think Africa, Indigenous peoples of the world. It is a time for caution, for not being greedy or reckless. It’s a time to take stock of what you’ve got, look after what’s important, shed the rest. The world is rich enough for all of us – it’s greed that’s killing us and the planet. Do your bit to make your corner of the world a kind and hopeful place.