It is said that if you have one good friend in your lifetime, you have been richly blessed. I take that to mean that it is difficult, or way near impossible, to find one. If this is true, then I am super blessed.
It is universally believed that friends are essential for a happy life. Which is probably why a sad face prompts one to say: “He looks like he has lost his last friend.” To describe a man with a bitter and unapproachable countenance, the Spanish say, “Tiene cara de pocos amigos.”
Last week I was among friends of the sweetest kind, ladies I see four times a year, five if we get lucky. We went to school together. That was the era of basketball stars, jam sessions, pedal pushers and silly crushes.
I spent some of the best years of my life with these women. We played German war ball and shared our baon at recess. And after graduation, we went our separate ways.
Now all in our wonderful 80s, this old gang of mine came to party. Armed with walkers, canes, some in wheelchairs, and escorted by faithful caregivers, they started arriving at 9:30 a.m. for lunch. A bit early, I know, but why waste a minute?
We listened to Christmas songs from a group called The Psalms of David. Delightful! We laughed a lot, reminisced and found winning raffle numbers under our chairs. We recalled our innocent adventures and briefly strolled together down memory lane. Oh yes, we still remember. Well, most of us do.
It has been an amazing journey. The years have taken their toll on our faces and we may be extra careful and tentative when we walk. But the spark is there despite the aches and pains, and the spirit still burns bright.
That night when I said my bedtime prayers, I remembered to thank God for blessing me with another beautiful day in the company of our group of “now oldies, but still goodies.”
Volumes have been written about friends and friendship. Some wax poetic and others warn of trouble.
We are told to stay away from fair-weather friends. But it is hard to predict who will remain through the storms. It is precisely during the bad times that true friends are revealed.
Just look at our political drama. Have you noticed how people who have lustily professed friendship and loyalty jump ship when the numbers start dropping?
Alan Clark, former member of British Parliament, once said, “There are no true friends in politics. We are all sharks circling and waiting for traces of blood to appear in the water.”
No matter where in the world you may live, this has not changed. Today the waters are more infested than ever before. If you don’t believe me, be my guest, jump in.
What do you look for in a friend? Through the years, I have thrown away the lists of what a friend is or is not. But I still believe that to have one, you must be one: authentic, with a sense of humor, forgiving, and, through the rain, good or bad, wrong or right, you choose to stay.
I like what American novelist Gloria Naylor said: “Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence; a time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.”
Just say it
I watched a video the other night that asked men and women of age from all over the world: “If you could, what would you tell young people today?”
It was interesting to see the expression of surprise in their faces.
Their replies were varied.
“Do what you like.”
“Life is nothing without character.”
“Forget the money.”
“You are unique and there’s nobody exactly like you and there never will be. Show your uniqueness.”
“Slow down. There’s more to life than speeding up.”
My favorite reply was: “The best currency that you can spend freely and always get much more than you paid for is LOVE. Spend it.”
I asked some of my friends, “What has life taught you that you would tell the young people today?”
“Will they listen?” someone asked. Good point.
But I insisted. I told them maybe we should just put it out there, not as a sermon or a reprimand. Just say it. Let your words catch the air and fly, let them echo above the noise and silences of life and, hopefully, if they look away from their gadgets long enough, or turn down the volume of their earphones, maybe, just maybe, our words may hit a nerve, strike the right chord and touch some young person’s heart.
Here are a few gems.
“Listen to your parents. And when they get old and senile, be patient, love them.”
“You are God’s creation. Respect yourself.”
“Time is precious; don’t waste it.”
“Stand for something good. Choose the truth, always.”
“Keep trying. You only fail when you quit.”
“Be proud to be Filipino.”
“I would tell them that hearts don’t break. That it only feels like you are dying.”
“Look around you. Don’t wait to be asked. Lend a hand.”
“Watch your words. More lives have been destroyed by the tongue than by lethal weapons.”
“In the middle of anger and anguish, be kind. Forgive.”