The Friends Connection

by Henrylito D. Tacio

I have several friends. But one of my best friends will soon be moving to Canada, where he and his family will settle for good. Last May, he picked me at the Manila airport and brought me to the hotel where I was staying.

I told him that I would be meeting some journalists, he obliged me to bring to the place. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the meeting place. I told him that I would meet them at Baywalk. So, we went there and tried to look for the place. We were walking for almost 30 minutes – and he didn’t even complain knowing that he had been in living in Metro Manila for almost 15 years already and been driving wherever he goes – and we couldn’t find the place.

I was already embarrassed and asked for apology. “Don’t worry,” he said. “I am alright.” “Are you sure,” I inquired. He answered affirmatively.

To make the long story short, we found the place and after meeting them my friend bade goodbye. “I am sorry,” he said, “but I have a meeting 30 minutes from now.” That’s okay, I told him, and thank you.

When I arrived in Columbus, Ohio three days later, I sent him e-mail. I told him how his friendship meant to me. His reply was one of the best I ever read: “Our friendship will be forever no matter where you are and who you are.”

A friend can be your alter ego. Remember Clark Kent and Superman. Friends may be two different people but they are actually one. Robert Louis Stevenson once said: “A friend is a gift to give yourself.” And an honest friend is a bonus: “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend,” he added.

Famous men and women have written some thoughts on friends and friendship. “What is a friend?” Aristotle wondered. “A single soul in two bodies.” Henry Adams said that “friends are born, not made.”

“If we would build on a sure foundation in friendship, we must love friends for their sake rather than for our own,” wrote Charlotte Bronte. Albert Camus said, “Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend.”

“My friends are my estate,” Emily Dickinson quipped. “A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and that which we take the least care of all to acquire,” remarked François Duc de La Rochefoucauld.

Ralph Waldo Emerson urged: “A friend might well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.” Kahil Gibran said, “Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.”

Elbert Hubbard said, “Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.” Father Jerome Cummings is even more direct: “A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway.” Doug Larson commented, “A true friend is one who overlooks your failures and tolerates your success!”

When I was in high school, we transferred in another area. Being the new kid in the block, I didn’t have any friend. But there was this one teenager who greeted me when I was walking while going to the public market. “So, you have just moved here,” he asked.

That teenager became my friend and we attended the same high school. Although we were friends, we were competing against each other during written and oral examinations. But we studied together and tried to ask questions and shared our notes.

When our English teacher asked me to join a literary contest, my friend was there to support me all the way. “You can do it,” he told me. As expected, I won the first prize and he was there cheering when my name was called.

How true where the words of Henry Ford: “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” In response, allow me to quote E.M. Forster: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.”

Tim McGraw stated: “If all my friends were to jump off a bridge, I wouldn’t jump with them, I’d be at the bottom to catch them. Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don’t say. We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.”

There are friends and there are true friends. Throughout the Bible, true friendship stories are found. First Samuel 20 focuses on the friendship of David and Jonathan. These two men truly cared for each other and had great trust and confidence in one another. David was running for his life from Jonathan’s father, Saul. Jonathan recognized that David was innocent. Because of the true friendship they shared, David survived Saul’s assassination attempts and went on to become one of Israel’s greatest kings.

Here are some advices for those who have friends. Saint Augustine, Roman religious figure and philosopher, said, “If two friends ask you to judge a dispute, don’t accept, because you will lose one friend; on the other hand, if two strangers come with the same request, accept because you will gain one friend.”

Here’s another from Saadi: “Reveal not every secret you have to a friend, for how can you tell but that friend may hereafter become an enemy. And bring not all mischief you are able to upon an enemy, for he may one day become your friend.”

Dale Carnegie shares: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Allow me to end this piece with a statement from Ulysses S. Grant: “The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.”

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