What is life without friendship? How would we traverse the plains of time in an existence without it? Would we cross the great divide between mere being and that of becoming, or would we simply fade into a grey mass of anonymity? If not friendship, then what? Money? Fame? Power? Is that our aspiration? Life is much more than any of these could ever prescribe. It’s about people, and the greatest gift that people can bestow is one of friendship, for friendship is the true spice of life.
In a world filled with distraction, whether social media, television, or the latest soliloquy of some rambling news post, friendship not only stands apart, but stands above. It’s the beacon on the hill that yearns to hear when no one else listens. It’s neither pretentious nor assuming, but real and steadfast. Presence is its undying resolve at which neither distance nor time can belittle or minimize. And where superficiality weakens, it strengthens.
Many don the friendship cloak, but few wear it. Not for the faint of heart, it bides through thick and thin. Sincerity is its trademark and loyalty its brand, and come what may, there it rises. Without agenda nor manipulation, it radiates acceptance, comfort and understanding. It provides hope and solace when none are found, and strength and courage when called upon. We long for it and we strive for it, and once discovered, the wise of us savor it. Italian theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) understood this when he proclaimed that “There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.”
What’s our goal then? Is it to have as many friends as possible? Is it to cultivate and nurture only those who appear to matter? And if so, who necessarily matters? Friends come in all shapes, sizes and forms. They appear, disappear and reappear, and as with much in life, there’s a time and place for everything and everyone. But it’s those who never lose track that are somehow always there. Whether in spirit or thought, they stick with us and we stick with them. Is that perhaps the prized “true friendship” that Aquinas alluded to?
As we strut down life’s path, we must never lose sight of life’s randomness (see Chance: The Unknown Factor…) and the people we encounter along the way. Most disappear into the ether of time, but some, a few, if we’re lucky, we count among our friends. We form, cultivate and nourish them. Some survive and others not. There’s laughter and fun, and disappointment and anger. We can expect nothing less in a world where chance plays its role, but we can expect happiness when those that truly matter become friends indeed.
After all is said and done, it’s true friendship that brings a smile to the face and a beat to the heart. May we never forget that it’s the true spice of life…
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