Friendship: Lend me your Fears
© 2010 raymond alexander kukkee
“ ‘Tis within the realm of both our blessings and our incompetence to hurt another life, or love, cherish, and befriend a fool to happily lend a hand with time, ‘ere he is gone, vanished forever into the mist”.
Friends. We choose them, and sometimes they choose us, but what is to come of the future if no action is taken to perpetuate friendship?
Let us be honest. We sometimes face the unnerving possibility that we shall have no idea what to say to old friends when we find we are about to see them again, which incidents will be plucked from the past, or for that matter, what we may reasonably say long after they have disappeared. Sadly, with time and neglect, friendship, if allowed, can become a fleeting, distant memory. Why are some friendships so proudly cherished and others forgotten entirely?
Perhaps there is only one certainty. To know good friends well is to understand yourself better, for they are generous souls entwined in your life, approved by the sub-conscious to explore the similarities and complexity of your persona and physical journey.
Where else may one seek the past, but within the journals of the mind of a friend? Where do happiness, wonderful memories and just answers truly dwell? Where can fear, tragedy and sadness exist, be safely treasured and acknowledged with clarity and understanding, but within the wisdom often found in long-time friends? Do we see ourselves reflected in old photographs of our friends?
Portraits of unnamed friends, faces of many souls from the past, do exist in old photograph albums so blessed. I know each of their faces when I see them. Perhaps offering comments upon their souls and their past is paramount to raising the spectre of my own, but each photograph initiates an unequaled, unique, and treasured moment of reflection.
There were boys I grew up with, working and fishing and chasing about in summer hay fields for amusement. We went to school, played baseball and dangerously carved our initials into the trunks of swaying trees -not at the bottom, but precariously close to the top only because we were brave and foolish enough to do so.
We laboured in the hot sun, collecting bales on creaking wagons, and in autumn, stood sheaves of golden-coloured oats in long, ragged and pointed rows to ripen. Chasing stubborn cattle through forests and stinging nettle-filled swamps, we discovered the value of working together, stamina and the pain of raised, burning welts. Instead of seeking medical assistance, we swam in taboo, warm, deep water of farm ponds for relief equally from the nettles, stifling mid- August heat, and evening chores.
I learned the joy and art of swimming, curiously, not splashing about up on the surface, as recommended by adults, but underwater, holding my breath, cruising along contentedly just under the surface, eyes wide open. What does the childhood revelation of swimming have to do with friendship? We found out accidentally. One of the boys slipped into deep water and almost drowned, but for the fact that most boys learn to swim. Clearly everything in life has purpose.
I discovered many years later that the same boy could not recall that incident. Should a friendship be rescinded for lack of recall or acknowledgment? He did not remember, but I never forgot diving beneath his skinny, flailing arms and standing underwater in the sticky, knee-deep bottom mud to push him, desperately choking, up to the surface and back to safety. What are friends for? We could not acknowledge that incident, we never again chanced swimming in that distinctly unfriendly new pond, and never spoke of it.
In life, boys soon discover they have far more important missions impossible assigned to them. Hormones invaded idyllic Tom Sawyer lives, creating a surprising interest in girls -who were as yet unnoticed and awkward-–but somehow friends even if unacknowledged .
One and all, collectively stamped with an era of giddy correctness, giggles and manners, the girls were wise enough to avoid swimming in the company of daring boys or in dangerous ponds. Years later, without exception, the same girls offer gentle smiles and almost inexplicable happiness upon seeing old friends at any chance meeting. We were clearly friends, and with much mutual respect, remain so.
How can those stalwart, seemingly eternal and beautiful friendships of trial and trust compare to fleeting relationships born today, where friendship might be defined by two drinks in a bar, and discarded thoughtlessly like last year’s cell phone the morning after a cheap hookup? Comparison is difficult, if impossible.
In observation, why do friendships now appear to lack depth, understanding, and fragment so easily? Has the concept of true friendship and commitment become socially abnormal, quaint, and inappropriate, or has individualism and self-importance taken it’s place?
It seems logical that nothing, including social trends or time itself, should stand in the way of friendship, but will the genuine value and social mechanism of friendship eventually disappear? In our ever-increasingly disconnected and individualistic social structure, each reader is encouraged to evaluate, refresh, and acknowledge the relationship of their own lives to those surrounding them. Comfort may be found in the fact that although friendship itself may ultimately be reduced to E-mail, denial, failed memory, or in the extreme, relegated to distant mists of the future, the intertwining of souls shall never cease.
The survival of individual friendships, families, societies, and nations –indeed, aspects of the international nature of the world itself -depend upon solid friendship and commitment in spite of incident, perceived difficulties, or fear encountered in times of horrific tragedy.
As for me, I shall continue to aspire to be a committed friend. To my treasured friends, past, present and future, lend me your fears, uncertainty, dreams and memories, and I shall help you carry them into eternity.
Is that Incoming I hear?