The Friends Connection

By Henrylito D. Tacio
 
Have you ever thought of this before: What do you think your world would be, if you don’t have any friend? 
 
I am lucky to have three best friends in life.  One came into my life when I was a little boy.   I met the second friend when I was in high school.  When I was working, I had the opportunity of working with an officemate who became my friend later.
 
Ralph Waldo Emerson defines friend in these words: “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere.  Before him I may think aloud.  I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal, that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another.”
 
“Friendship improves happiness, and abates misery, by doubling our joy, and dividing our grief,” said Joseph Addison. Pam Brown adds, “In loneliness, in sickness, in confusion – the mere knowledge of friendship makes it possible to endure, even if the friend is powerless to help.  It is enough that they exist.  Friendship is not diminished by distance or time, by imprisonment or war, by suffering or silence.  It is in these things that it roots most deeply.  It is from these things that it flowers.”
 
In some instances, a friend is more than that.  Here’s a thought from Dinah Craik, author of ‘A Life for a Life’: “But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely.  Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
 
Yes, we ought to have someone whom we can trust and talk with.  For as the Bible states, “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has no one to help him up.”
 
I was reminded of a story shared to me by a friend.  It goes this way:  Horror gripped the heart of the World War I soldier as he saw his lifelong friend fall in battle. Caught in a trench with continuous gunfire whizzing over his head, the soldier asked his lieutenant if he might go out into the “No Man’s Land” between the trenches to bring his fallen comrade back.
 
“You can go,” said the Lieutenant, “but I don’t think it will be worth it. Your friend is probably dead and you may throw your own life away.” The Lieutenant’s words didn’t matter, and the soldier went anyway.
 
Miraculously, he managed to reach his friend, hoist him onto his shoulder, and bring him back to their company’s trench.  As the two of them tumbled in together to the bottom of the trench, the officer checked the wounded soldier, and then looked kindly at his friend. “I told you it wouldn’t be worth it,” he said. “Your friend is dead, and you are mortally wounded.”
 
“It was worth it, though, sir,” the soldier said. “How do you mean, ‘worth it?'” the Lieutenant responded.  “Your friend is dead!”  The soldier replied, “Yes, sir.  But it was worth it because when I got to him, he was still alive, and I had the satisfaction of hearing him say, ‘I knew you’d come.'”
 
While reading the story, I can hear the Burt Bacharach song being sung by Dionne Warwick: “And if I should ever go away, well then close your eyes and try to feel the way we do today.
And then if you can remember: Keep smiling, keep shining knowing you can always count on me, for sure.  That’s what friends are for.  For good times and bad times, I’ll be on your side forever more.  That’s what friends are for.”
 
Another favorite song I usually sing is this: “When you’re down and troubled and you need a helping hand.  And nothing, nothing is going right.  Close your eyes and think of me.  And soon I will be there to brighten up even your darkest nights.  You just call out my name.  And you know wherever I am, I’ll come running to see you again.  Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call.  And I’ll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve got a friend.”  James Taylor popularized this song way back in the 1970s.
 
Why I singing those songs?  Because Donna Roberts reminds, “A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.”  C.S. Lewis also stated, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”
 
Indeed, blessed is a person who has a friend.  An unknown author gives this ultimate picture of friends; be sure to listen carefully: “Friends answer your needs before their own.  You come to them with your hunger, and they satisfy you with peace.  That’s how friends are.
 
“Friends let you speak your mind, without worrying what their thoughts will be.  Friends know when you are silent they need to listen your heart.   Friends share the joy and the pain.  They know about desire and rejection.  Friends allow you to be who you are, without expectations of who you should be.
 
“Friends don’t come with a purpose and they don’t come with a plan. They come to enlighten your spirit and they come to brighten your heart.  They come to give you a hand when needed and expect nothing in return.  It is the little things that friends do.  Like fill your heart with pleasure, hope and joy.”
 
Yes, a friend is worth far more than gold.
 
For comments, write me at henrytacio@gmail.com

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