A Handful of Friends

Posted by Fin Valino on 21st Feb. 2014

friend a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

I recently helped my mother move into her first apartment since my father died back on October 1, 2009.  She wanted to live in Chicago instead of living closer to me in the northern suburbs of Chicago because of two people - her friends.  

Their names are Mila and Charito.  They all met years ago at the department store giant, Montgomery Wards.  Now apparently, giants do fall but real friendships stand the test of time.  To think that after over 30 years, these three women still have a bond that is so strong that after all these years it was so important for my mother to live close by them.

I remember when I was a boy, my mother used to tell me that she could count her friends on one hand.  And from what I can remember I bet she could count them on one hand and not even need all five of her fingers.

I'm actually very much the same as my mother.  I just don't think that friendship is something you should have an open invitation to.  Friendships are very special and by definition it transcends many of the things that keep even married couples together.  I'm not kidding, it is more likely that people will divorce their spouses than to breakup a true friendship.

I know so many people who have so many friends that they really can't keep up with all of them.  If you can't keep up with them or if you don't particularly go out of your way to keep up with them, are they really your friends?  Maybe you'd really be doing yourself a favor if you just fessed up and called them acquaintances - because that's what they are.  They are people you know slightly - you have a familiarity with them; but, when it comes right down to it, you'd feel really uncomfortable having a heart to heart with them about your personal life.  You don't just give the keys to your home to someone you're simply familiar with.

"Hey... Aren't you the kid who bags my groceries once a week at the Jewel?  Here's the keys to my home... You can help yourself to all the secrets that it holds!"

Giving someone your friendship is like giving them the keys to your home.  Your home is that which truly holds the secrets of who you really are - the person that the world doesn't see.  I'm sure that there are things that my mom's two friends know about my mother that I have no idea about.  I only have a handful of people as well who really know me very well and who accept me for who I am.

Friends are there for you and there rarely comes a time when a friend would disagree with you so much that they wouldn't come to your aid should you truely need it.  It is so easy to tell who is the friend of another person.  You just have to observe who is always there in good times and in bad. Again, it's not always your wife, husband, kids or even your priest, rabbi or cleric who is gonna be there - it's your friend.

I used to work with a guy who loved to say, "Words mean things..."  and so they do.  Be very selective of who you call a friend.  Be equally as thoughtful to who you allow to call you a friend.  Because it has real meaning and the meaning is special.  Don't trivialize it the way everybody does these days just because it is fashionable to have so many friends.

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