Tag Archive: FRIENDSHIP


Up to now I’ve never shared my personal feelings on my blog. That may be partly because I’m in touch with who I really am, and what I’m really like, and how un-like the majority of people I am, and so how few people can tolerate me! As my brother once said to me so succinctly, “You’re weird!”.

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He didn’t realize it, but that was one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me. Weirdness has its benefits. Give me “weird” any time…

I remarked to someone the other day on the importance of talking to yourself. In open conversation we all make fun of the practice, but I suspect the reality is that a good many or most of us do it. After all, sometimes it’s the only way to have an intelligent conversation, right? So I said to this person, who I won’t name, that by talking to ourselves we stay in contact with who we really are. We reconcile ourselves to an otherwise hostile world. We organize our thoughts and make them more solid in our consciousness. We pragmatically consider both or all sides of the issues at hand (if we have any sense), and we provide friendship for ourselves which may not otherwise be available. Who can we trust if we can’t trust ourselves?

We may be afraid of being considered to be slightly insane if others see us talking to ourselves, and that’s understandable, because we all feel that those who do so with no self-consciousness at all may well be unhinged in some way. But surely we all have thought-conversations with ourselves, inside our minds, don’t we? It’s impossible not to (I think). And we don’t consider ourselves to be mad for that. So what’s the harm, now and then, with a little one-on-one conversation, when nobody else is around? We talk to our pets, we talk to the television, we talk to the driver in front of us: why not talk to our best friends-ourselves?

Looking at my view count lately, I may well be talking to myself now…

Ah, but someone else is always around-God. Statements like that one make the atheist and the unbeliever become certain that I and others like me are not playing with a full deck. They forget all the many benefits believers with great minds have given the world-men like Pascal, Francis Bacon, Kepler, Newton, Boyle, Tolkein, C.S Lewis and countless others.

God hears us. In fact, he knows our thoughts, and hears all our words. Herein is one of the potentially huge benefits of talking to ourselves, whether in our minds or out loud. When we do it within the knowledge and control of God’s spirit, and while also talking to our God, we can talk ourselves into a right way of thinking:

…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).

Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:1-2).

 

 

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000_0842Some of my favorite experiences are not once-only events but types, and one of the best and most memorable pleasures of life so far has been having a laugh with some good friends…

My idea of a real friend is someone I can relax and be myself with-not someone I have to force myself to chuckle at small-talk with. I’ve had a number of close friends over the years: all, unfortunately, a long way from where I live now. Of those good friends the one I’ve had the most laughs with is a bloke called Terence Ruffle. Terence is one of those people who loved to laugh and would make light of almost any situation. Even in a mildly disastrous conundrum, and perhaps after some brief initial shock, Terence would turn things into a joke, so that it didn’t seem to be half as bad as it would if you were with someone else who took things seriously. I’m not talking here about out of place mockery, flippancy, ridicule or rudeness, but good-humored fun, and always pithy, witty and imaginative. It was these qualities in his humor which made me laugh so much-the cleverness and inventiveness of his words and observations. I only wish I could supply an illustration of his verbal inventiveness, but I have a terrible memory for word-for word conversation, and I’m afraid I couldn’t do him justice.

However, to illustrate the general tone of his positive spirits and good humor, I relate to you an incident in which he and I decided late one night to visit someone who lived on a barge. The tide was low, and the barge was moored next to the quay on the famed Blackwater River, probably with a few others which would have been “parallel parked”. Taking the lead in our venture, I stepped from the quayside, expecting to connect my foot with the edge of the barge, and instead fell between the two. I just managed to hook a hand on each side, so that I was hanging like a letter “Y”, suspended several feet above deep, deep mud and dirty water.

What was Terry doing? He was laughing his head off. To him this was a hilarious spectacle. It wasn’t a sadistic laugh: it never was with Terence, because he was too caring even of his enemies. I know he would most definitely have been somber and immediately helpful if he thought I was in any danger or if I was hurt.

After gaining a minute or two of hysterical lung-exercise at the sight of my predicament, he came to my rescue, grabbed a hand, and pulled me up, where we had a laugh together.

I thank my God for laughter, for friends like Terence (although there are very few around like him)…and also that I didn’t fall into the mud.

My Best Friend

YOUR ONE TRUE FRIEND

 

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How many of us know how to be a good friend? How many of us know the pleasure of having one?

(SNUFMUMRIKO: “Some Distant Afternoon”)

Two years ago I wrote a post called “Profile of a good friend”, partly in honor of my good mate Terence Ruffle, who, unfortunately, lives on the other side of the ocean…

I know that plenty of you people out there have lots of friends, and some good ones at that. I wish I could say I do too, but apart from Terence, I have none. The one or two people who claimed to be my friends in recent years have vanished in such a way as to let me know that they didn’t really mean it: so much for them.

When my family and I moved into our present home, I went next door to introduce people to their new neighbors. I shook their hands, told them my name, and said that if they needed anything they could come and see me. I haven’t seen anything of them since.

For several years neighbors of ours have been seen making a dash from their car to the house before they have the unpleasant experience of having to say “Hi” to someone who is evidently uncool and weird. Hey-I like being uncool and weird: I’ve worked on it all my life, and no amount of rejection is going to force me to become what I am not. I’m not putting on an act for anyone. I don’t fit into any categories or molds, and I’m very glad about that. I’m not saying that rudeness is a good thing, I’m saying that I want to be me, not what others think I should be.

When I was at college a long time ago I learned about something called “privatization”, and I’ve had plenty of time to see it in action and to see the results of it. Now there are so many noses stuck in the air, in the television, in the phone, and in the video games, that you (or should I say “I”) can’t get one of them to point my way. When I attempt to get a conversation from someone, I see fidgeting, discomfort, and eyes rolling in any direction but mine. It’s always time to go. “Well, I’d better let you go…” is a common phrase around these parts, when someone wants to extricate themselves from your presence, but attempts feebly to make it sound like they are doing you a favor. Perhaps they are.

I wish, oh how I wish, I could say that the situation is different in the church: it is not. You have to fit in with the crowd to be accepted. You have to engage in all the right small talk. You have to wear the right clothes, have the right look, the right job, the right income, and live in the right part of town. You know, if I were not a Christian, and I went into a church looking for love and truth, I most likely would not go back there again. But I know that human rejection is not an evidence against God. I keep my faith by knowing that my God is faithful, that He is loving, and that He is my friend.

And perhaps that is as it should be, because my Bible tells me:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man” (Jeremiah 17:5).

If it’s a case of having to compromise my faith in order to have a friend, or to creep and crawl to someone who really doesn’t want to know me just in order to gain a little warmth and company, then the choice is clear, because not only has God called us to “come out from among them and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17), but He asks each of us this rhetorical question:

“What fellowship can light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14).

So when you get right down to the nitty-gritty truth of earthly friendship, you can count yourself blessed and privileged if you have a real friend. But don’t forget that your only true, dependable, faithful, loving friend is the one who died for you- Jesus Christ- in order to make a way for you to live with him forever. And God has said:

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b).

There is no human friendship to match this-we can only work towards being like Jesus in the way we treat people. But some of us have good friends here on earth, and below is my own personal profile of a good friend. I realize that very few people can live up to such standards-I certainly can’t, but maybe we should all aim for them:

A GOOD FRIEND…

Never stops being your friend

Agrees to disagree

Shares some of your opinions, ideas and views

Is someone you can laugh with frequently

Laughs with you, not at you

Speaks no hateful words behind your back

Is a listener

Is interested in you and not just himself

Speaks the truth in love

Is someone you can be truthful with

Is always willing to help

Cares for his own (Terence took his aging father into his own home)

Does not engage in destructive gossip

Is always respectful (teasing is healthy fun though)

Is anxious to help you think problems through

Lifts your spirits when you’re down

Inspires you

Is more willing to praise than criticize

Considers criticism

Rejoices in your achievements or profit

Advises, doesn’t nag

Always thinks good of you

Never seeks revenge for your mistakes (Terry laughs at them – what could be better?)

Is quick to apologize

Is quick to forgive: doesn’t hold grudges

Feels your hurts

Overlooks your weaknesses and foibles

Is someone you feel comfortable being yourself with

PROFILE OF A GOOD FRIEND

In honor of my good friend Terence’s birthday on September 28th, I thought it would be a nice idea to summarize the character traits and qualities that make up a good friend. I don’t mean someone you just know at work, or someone you dated five years ago, I mean a real, true friend.

I freely admit that I’ve never measured up to the criteria I’ve outlined below, and I don’t think many of us do.

I’ve known Terence since we were together in Infants’ school, (aka Elementary school). The ironic thing about it is that we now live on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and I really didn’t appreciate him enough when we were on the same side: I haven’t found a friend remotely like him where I am now, and it’s even more ironic that Terence is not a professing Christian.  How I would love to say that I know a whole bunch of Christians that match the characteristics he lives out naturally! It was by thinking about him that I was able to create this list.

I want to say that I really believe the truest friend anyone can have is Jesus Christ, but God made us for each other in this physical world, and it’s not wrong to give praise where praise is due. People usually wait until someone has died before they say nice things about them publicly – that’s a sad mistake. My list is inspired by Terence –  a true friend. I noticed that the list fulfills a lot of Biblical guidelines for what real love is. 

But first, I asked my nine-year old son what he thought were the things that make a good friend, and hadn’t told him my thoughts yet. His list:

A good friend is playful, kind, friendly, doesn’t argue with you, hates school, doesn’t bully people, doesn’t get jealous and is funny. I’d say that’s a good list, and really summarizes mine pretty well too.

I’m sure you could add some definitions to these two lists: please send some as a comment.

 A GOOD FRIEND…

Never stops being your friend

Agrees to disagree

Shares some of your opinions, ideas and views

Is someone you can laugh with frequently

Laughs with you, not at you

Speaks no hateful words behind your back

Is a listener

Is interested in you and not just himself

Speaks the truth in love

Is someone you can be truthful with

Is always willing to help

Cares for his own (Terence took his aging father into his own home)

Does not engage in destructive gossip

Is always respectful (teasing is healthy fun though)

Is anxious to help you think problems through

Lifts your spirits when you’re down

Inspires you

Is more willing to praise than criticize

Considers criticism

Rejoices in your achievements or profit

Advises, doesn’t nag

Always thinks good of you

Never seeks revenge for your mistakes (Terry laughs at them – what could be better?)

Is quick to apologize

Is quick to forgive: doesn’t hold grudges

Feels your hurts

Overlooks your weaknesses and foibles

Is someone you feel comfortable being yourself with

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