Friendship is a funny thing sometimes, and the deeper the friendship the more complex it is. Friendships formed during the heady days of youth can last a lifetime, this we know. However, that is not to say that they are not fraught with tension and turbulence, hurt feelings and times of estrangement. It’s a hard lesson to learn, that the person you feel closest to at one point in your life may be the person you are most estranged from at another point in your life. The level of trust, of understanding, of intimacy that grows and flourishes in a strong friendship can sometimes become almost too intense- leading to one or both of the parties to have to take a “step back” for a while. Friendship, in its variety of forms is truly the best gift each of us can have in our lives. However, the gift of true friends, friends for a lifetime, is a gift that comes with great responsibility and each of us have to be ready to take the joys along with the tension and sorrow.
I’ve been lucky enough to have the same best friend since I was 17 years old and from that time to today, the friendship is strong and true. But it takes work; quite a bit of work on both of our parts and there were times over the course of over 2 decades were tensions were high enough that it could have easily fallen apart. It’s a choice, always, to stick with a relationship that you feel is truly enriching your life, or to walk away when there are times of trouble. It’s hard – to be a good friend and to have a good friend, because both of those things require you to give up a little bit of you to become a little more attuned to them. When people describe friendship as “give and take”, it is the most apt description one can give.
Friendship cannot be defined solely gifts given or hours spent in each other’s company or how much two people have in common. In fact, some friendships work best when there is distance – I know my best friend would agree that if we lived close to each other, instead of NJ and TX, the friendship might not be as strong, as loving and as long lasting as it is now. Our personalities, so well suited to forming a life- long friendship, could not always withstand being in the same room at the same time. And that’s perfectly ok- normal even. Your best friend might not be the person you can spend 24/7 with. It might be the person who, through deep conversations and even differences of opinion, helps shape you into the best version of yourself. And you might be that person for someone else- and that’s a great gift to bring to another’s life. Time, space, distance- none of these will be a debilitating factor for those great friendships that are destined to survive.
A case in point- a huge Beatles fan, I had the opportunity to listen to Paul McCartney being interviewed by Stephen Colbert in late September. Nobody who is a fan of rock music is unfamiliar with The Beatles, their glorious time together and their seemingly insurmountable discord that eventually dissolved their partnership as musicians. From their earliest time in The QuarryMen, Lennon and McCartney had that type of friendship that comes along once or twice in a lifetime, at the most. From the late 60’s onward, there was always a level of tension between them, but the bond of friendship was never truly broken. And so, I was moved to tears when I heard Paul McCartney say:
The thing is when you’ve had a relationship like that for so long—such a deep relationship—I love it when people revisit you in your dreams,” the singer said. “I’m often with John, just talking about doing something, and I go to get my half of the bass, and it’s covered in sticky tape….when Lennon’s around in dreams, it’s always good.”
That’s friendship, pure and simple- and the truly the most beautiful expression of it I have heard in quite some time. Nothing, can come between a friendship that runs so deep; it seems not even death. All of us have the gift within us to forge friendships like that- friendships that transcend all of life’s barriers, friendships that are, of course, rocky at times but are in perfect harmony at others. I’ve heard, during my time at SDA countless alumnae tell me of friendships made in these halls that have lasted for decades and have maintained their strength even when spread across the country. You women know of the bonds of friendship that I am writing about today…you know that your friendships will be part of you for as long as you life, and if you are as lucky as Paul McCartney is, longer than that even.
Friendship, true friendship is eternal, it’s a constant, never ending example of perfect love, even if at times we only visit with each other in our dreams. The Beatles put it best, as they often do:
I get by with a little help from my friends!