Do You Know the Meaning of Friendship?
Muhammad Ali was spot-on when he said, "Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain". Because friendship is a personal experience.
Each experience will be different from the other. Each person has their own version of why their friendship lasted to become a diamond, or dissolved like salt in water.
Even though friendship is "so easy to look at, so hard to define" like in Dylan's "Sara", the song he wrote for his first wife, people have been trying to find an answer to the meaning of friendship. It's easier said than done, though.
Friendship starts by chance – at any place, at any point of life. Two like-minded people meet. One looks at the other and goes, "What? You too? I thought I was the only one."
Once a friendship kicks off, it's spring time. The friends get to know each other. They share and care, and form a bond of trust, the fabric of a successful friendship.
But then, trust has multiple dimensions. This complicates things. Trust has to be mutual and transparent. It has to be nurtured over time. If broken, it's one of the two who has to make the first move to mend, and the other has to tango to make ends meet. Trust can be put to the test, though.
Spring only comes once a year. The skies could be cloudy at other times; there could be rains and storms, or even snow. The sun could become so hot that the earth will start to crack. There could be an earthquake, tsunami, or a cyclone. Harsh weather always tests friendship. Harsh weather also unravels hidden faces of friends. These faces could be fantabulous. They could also be dangerous.
The next element of a good friendship in testing times is respect. If the two friends have grown mutual respect for each other over time, chances are high, they will accept each other in spite of all the limitations of the other.
The friendship between the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger and Keith Richards is unique.
The two first met when they were seven, at primary school in Dartford, Kent. They were separated in 1954 when Jagger's family moved out. They met again on October 17, 1961 at Dartford Railway Station. Jagger was carrying LPs of Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. Richards told himself, "What? You too?" Thus began one of the longest lasting friendships in musical history.
The two have gone through times when it was evident it's the end of the Rolling Stones. And yet, over time, they survived because they had mutual trust and respect for each other.
Viewing friendships with a little bit of pessimism is good. The reality is, no long-lasting friendship, like Jagger and Richards, has ever been perfect. Arguing and fighting are parts of friendship, just like sharing and caring.
However, if two friends have grown mutual trust and respect for each other, they will forgive and forget and start afresh.
Quoting CS Lewis again, "Friendship, …has no survival value, rather it is one of those things that give value to survival."
And again, Muhammad Ali said, "If you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything."