March 2    

Today's quotation:

A genuine friend considers you just as another human being, as a brother or sister, and shows affection on that level, regardless of whether you are rich or poor, in a high position or low position.  That is a genuine friend.

the Dalai Lama

Today's Meditation:

Friendship is just as much about being a friend as it is about having a friend.  Personally, I don't feel that I've ever been very good at friendship (though I have some friends who might argue that point).  For the most part, it's due to the fact that my family moved constantly when I was young, so my parents never had any significant friendships to model to us and I never had any long-term friendships, always being the "new kid" who didn't know anyone at all.  And whenever I did make friends, we moved soon after, so I lost them.

This dynamic in my past has caused me to truly value any friendship that I have, because I know how precious it is.  It's also allowed me, though, to realize how much effort friendship takes, how much effort it takes to maintain healthy relationships with those whom we call friends.  It isn't unpleasant effort, of course, but it does take commitment and consistency on our part.  It also takes acceptance of the other person as a completely unique individual--not just someone who agrees with what I say, does the things I do, and/or shares religious or political or philosophical beliefs.

I'm never doing anyone a favor by being their friend.  My fellow human beings have a right to be treated with dignity and respect, just as they are.  And if I'm fortunate enough to call them friends, then so much the better!  When I do have friends, though, much of the responsibility for maintaining the friendship is mine, and the more seriously I take that responsibility, and the more accepting I am of my friends just as they are, the stronger my friendships will be.  And strong friendships are a wonderful part of life.

Questions to consider:

How many people do you know who try to change their friends or the ways they do things so that they'll be somehow more "acceptable"?

What kinds of things do you do to keep your friendships vital and alive?

Why is it so easy to take friendships for granted?

For further thought:

We take care of our health, we lay up money, we make our room tight, and our clothing sufficient; but who provides wisely that they shall not be wanting in the best property of all--friends?

Ralph Waldo Emerson

more on friendship



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