PART I: INTRODUCTION:
Friendship is more than being together sharing commonalities. It’s more than the laughter being shared, and it transcends beyond intimacy. Friendship is a mystery done by the heart and can only be understood first by the heart if we have a heart.
PART II: THE GLIMPSE
During my Theology years in the seminary up to now writing this reflection about friendship made me see a li’l glimpse of understanding about the vastness of what Friendship is.
It all started during our Pastoral Exposure in a certain Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) or Gagmayng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKK) known here in Mindanao. After the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, my classmate and I, still with our cassocks on, were asked by a kid, “Kuya, bakit mo kami kinakaibigan?” (Brother, why do you befriended us?) Another kid innocently answered him, “Trabaho nila iyang kaibiganin tayo!” (It’s their job to befriend us).
Honestly, I was stunned with the statement uttered by the kid. I didn’t know how to answer the question. During our personal time I re-examined myself if I am really a friend or I am just doin’ my job to befriend people. Why do I befriend thee? I still can’t find the answer. Until now I am still seeing a foretaste of the mystery of friendship.
My experienced with that kid, maybe, to many means nothing but to me it shook my foundation about friendship. It was really deep. I befriended thee maybe because it was just the right thing to do. Is it?
Making friends through magic. Why do I befriend thee?
PART III: SEEING WHO I AM
After a decade of searching for an answer, I still haven’t seen the wholeness of it but instead I saw what kind of friend I was:
I am a gainer friend: I befriended you because I can gain something from you be it material, financial, and you can boost up my own ego or I can build my own reputation easily if you're my friend. I was once in the magic industry and an aspiring magician so I befriended John, a well known magician because the latter is an asset to my craft. John knows many magic effects that I can learn. He knew many people and he can refer me to them for magic shows so I can gain much income. Maybe there’s nothing wrong about it but since I am a gainer friend, I don’t know how to give back what I received.
I am a blind martyr: I befriended you because it’s the right thing to do; because everyone is telling that be a friend because that is all that matters. This is what happened to me during my BEC days. If I don’t befriend the community I could never be a good shepherd. I am a friend because everybody told me to be a friend. “Trabaho nila yan kaibiganin tayo!” as said by the kid. I am just doing what is the right thing to do even though I am not a real friend to them.
I am a lover of your friendship: there are times in our life we meet people who are so genuinely friendly. We become addicted to their friendship. We’ll miss them if they are not around. We look for them if they are not with us. We needed them to complete our day but in times they need us, we become so busy.
Meet Peter, a good friend of mine. Here’s his story. Geneva, a neophyte in the company met Mr. Peter, a 2 year employee of the same company. They became friends at no time because the guy was a total genuine. She laughed with him; she kept looking at him when his not around, she can talk to him anything under the sun. She shared to him all her troubles and problems in life. Peter was always there whenever she needed him. Everyone, including me, thought they have something or they’re the perfect couple. But no one knew every time Peter was experiencing something not right or he just wanted someone to listen to him, he would run to his good friend Geneva. But this young lady always has some excuses. “Peter, I am so sorry I wasn’t able to talk to you last night because I was so busy with my report; Pete, sorry I don’t know how to help you; Peter, let’s do this tomorrow because I am with my parents. . . and all the excuses. We only love people because we love the way they loved us.
I am a “respectful” friend: I smile, I laugh, I listen, and befriended you because it’s out of respect. Who cares if you’re not around or what you do? I don’t care. When I was in the Non-Government Organization, I met madam S. She’s my supervisor. We worked together, we laughed together, but everything is about working relationship. I respect my supervisor that’s why we are friends but outside the office, a simple “Hi” and “Hello” is okay.
I am who you are: This is befriending people but limiting only on how others treat us. I met Clyde, John, King, and Isko and we get along in seconds. We laughed and shared some funny moments together but we never got to the point of knowing each other personally. I talk sh*t because they talk sh*t. They show li’l respect on me, so I’ll show them li’l respect too. If you leave then I leave. It is an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
I am a guest in your hotel living room friend: When I first stepped in the magic industry, I met Kuya Edwin. He’s one of the pioneers of this art in my City. He guided me in the industry of magic. Later, I found friends who specializes the same genre as mine, I have forgotten Kuya. Now that I am in the reception area, kuya was the living room.
Hotel living room is also defined as where the guests are welcomed before they are brought up to their rooms or to the function/reception halls.
I am a Seeker of Company, Inc.: I always feel alone in new places (does not always mean a place). My feet can’t lift up to make a step because I am afraid if something happens to me if I will. When I first entered the seminary after graduating High School, I found friends, good real friends from my classmates/batch-mates. But being with them I was not able to grow independently. After my Philosophy years, I proceeded with my Theology years. During our first year in Theology, each one of us had our own life aside from our community life; I discovered I didn’t know how to stand up on my own feet. I befriended my many because I needed them, because I did not know what to do if I am alone. I became co-dependent. I can’t do things without my friends. Actually, I didn’t know how to ride a jeepney by myself. Every time we have our day off I always make sure I tag along a friend.
I am a Status Quo friend: This is not so me but I think I am also a status quo kind of friend. I have thousands of friends from different places when I was still wearing my white cassock. People were so kind and friendly. Most of the time I heard them say “Brother, we are always with you. If you need us, let us know. We will always pray for you.” They let me sleep in their house; they treat me like their own. This is life.
Everything changes when I decided to leave the seminary because I wanted to grow and stand on my feet, my thousands of friends changed and it seems they never knew who I was. I saw this man, he’s a wealthy man from a wealthy family who once told me before “we are always with you” in a certain mall together with his family (we were so close back then). I smiled at them and went to their direction but they never bothered to smile back at me as if they did not know who I am. I was so ashamed for myself. LOL! Maybe I am a status quo friend too that’s why they don’t know me anymore.
PART IV: FOLLOW SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTAND IT
“Kuya, why do you befriend us?”
“It’s their job.”
These statements made me realized that in my entire life I don’t know how to be a Friend and never understand what friendship is until I remembered what my spiritual director said to me: “If you do not know how to be one, look up for that Someone and follow Him. Because in Him you’ll never go astray”
There's no need for me to explain How and Why He Befriended us and What kind of Friend He is to us. He loved and keeps on loving us and that laying down His life for us is no greater love. That's the kind of Friendship He is offering to us.
Knowing what He did for me; He died for me to atone my sins, and to let me know His Unconditional is my reason why my paradigm about friendship shifted and now I am paying it forward.
PART V: IT IS AN ACTION
Friendship goes beyond emotions for what is emotion if we do not act it. Let’s value our friends regardless of:
what they can do,
what they can offer,
who they are,
what they have
and if they devalue us, let’s remain valuing them.
I value and treasure my friends a lot. I only have few, really few, but I am happy with them. I make it to the point I immortalized our friendship by capturing memories. With Huawei P9 no memories will be wasted, everything will be captured because Huawei P9’s camera is co-engineered with Leica. It has dual lenses that produces high quality photos and allow users to take amazing monochrome, slo-mo, colored, light painting photos among others.
A friend can make one's life heaven or hell but having True Friends who understand what Friendship is makes life more beautiful and full of happiness and adventure. They are our mirrors who criticizes us if we do something stupid and praise us when we achieve something big or small, they are our shoulders to lean on when we are down, they support us when we want to reach our goals. Now, the question is, are we a Friend to our friends?
~ THANK YOU ~