For all who are joined to the living there’s hope (Eccl 9:4). A man and woman may live many years and rejoice, but let them remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. We should therefore enjoy life with reservation (Eccl 11:18). Build a good foundation by the way we live. Of such are the gifts of the sweetness of life that come through friendships. Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer Khalil Gibran (1883–1931) wrote, “In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Much of what passes off as insignificant has meaning beyond our comprehension. These small deeds may very well be those attributes that shape our lives for years to come.
Gift of Friendship
Friendship is an important gift. It’s precious and adds to life’s dimensions. Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC–43 BC), a Roman philosopher, politician, and lawyer said, “What sweetness is left of life, if you take away friendship. Robbing life of friendship is like robbing the world of the sun. A true friend is more to be esteemed than kinsfolk.” The price of friendship is greater than the value of gold. Companions are valuable and able to sustain us in the unpredictable aspects of our lives. They can stand by us, assure us, and are always there to help us. These are true gifts by which some people are blessed.
We may wonder about our friends and say all manner of things about them. These remarks come alive in the sentiments we express. A Nigerian novelist, and poet Chinua Achebe (1930–2013) wrote, “When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.” Often it may be difficult to tell who people’s friends really are, but some do express this gift because they are able to recognize them.
Perfection in Friendship
In choosing friends never expect perfection. This may never come. When you decide let it be based on the feelings in your heart. Say a prayer to be guided to loved ones. Matthew Arnold (1822–1888), an English poet and cultural critic said, “The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.” Inevitably when we make friends we eventually hope that they will become like rays of sunshine in our lives. Being perfect may be our goal. But don’t be disappointed if you find yourself working for such a goal to evolve into something beautiful.
One ingredient tops it all when it comes to friendships. It’s the gift of love. Listen to what Marie de France (1154–1189), a medieval poet wrote, “For above all things love means sweetness, and truth, and measure; yea, loyalty to the loved one and to your word. And because of this I dare not meddle with so high a matter.” Loving friends is a perfect gift. Still it must be remembered it might be love that isn’t returned the way we expect. Nevertheless Scripture teaches us to continue to love them. This is also, loving our enemies. People must always show they care. We ought to bless others in a loving manner, and be compassionate.