Being A Friend

cool, cheery evening

Words that we utter may sometimes appear so insignificant, so unnecessary, and at times even so cumbersome. We genuinely try at times to be nice to people that we know and we tell them, ‘hey, whatever goes wrong just drop me a text, I’ll always be here for you’. Or we might say, ‘everything is okay, I’m going to be here and see you through it all’.

I’m sure we’ve all said those lines to people, be they people close to us or otherwise; I’m quite certain too that you have heard people telling you that too, that they will be there for you (as all good friends do) and that there is nothing to be afraid of or worried about.

So what’s the purpose of saying that really?

It works on two levels, or at least between two main ideas (do allow me to buy insurance here). In fact, I just discovered a third reason from my interactions with a friend as to why people say it but I would however, leave this one out until maybe just one sentence towards the end because I suspect it might not sit easy with people.

On one hand, it is to affirm the relationship between the two of you and to provide confidence. It doesn’t matter if you or your friend can be or will be there (or not), just the idea of someone being there is enough to be a great source of comfort, support and encouragement. The thought that there is a shoulder there to lean on, a sleeve to cry on, a ear ready to listen is sufficient to tide people through the toughest of times, the roughest of patches. That is the first, that people say it and use this idea as a form of support rather than actually turning to the person and using that shoulder. Those who provide this assurance and affirmation may or may not know the effect of their words, but it is definitely positive and can go a long way towards aiding others through rough rides.

The second is that people tell others this because they really can and want to be there for the people that they are telling it to. They have the capacity and ability to provide the help that is needed, whether it be either financial, physical, emotional or mental. This is a direct offer of a lifeline, a source of help that can actually be tapped on in times of need. There is something more concrete and real in this, and it does the same as per the first scenario, except that it goes beyond in that it is actually feasible.

For the final reason, it is bred out of a desire to feel like there will be someone there for you as well. It means (in simple simple words) that you say it so that you can feel that since you want (whether can or cannot) to be there for the other person, he or she will similarly also want to and can be there for you as well. It is also to keep people close to you, in that you try to make people feel that they are important to you such that you in turn can feel important and significant to that person as well. This, I am afraid, is bred out of insecurity and a sense of inadequacy of the self; that you need external support to be able to feel secure, that you need to depend on external sources to be able to feel safe and yourself. It is not the happiest of scenarios, but it happens far too often and with far too many people.

Since it’s Sunday, let’s move away from humans and talk a little bit about God. I think that’s one of the things that God, working through churches, cell groups and pastors, is trying to tell us: He is always there for all of us. Some of us, when we encounter difficulties and destabilising waves, are often clouded by the gloomy circumstances that we fail to see past the situation to see the light. It is wonderful to feel and know that God is always there for us, always ready to lend us a helping hand, always ready to direct us through ways which we sometimes are not aware of and at times miss; we do sometimes lose sight of God when we feel that our problems and circumstances overwhelm us, but I’m sure God understands that.

Here’s a verse. Isaiah 40:29 – He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

On a friendship and relationship level, I think that is what it means to being a friend – to be willing to give your love to others both in times of need and in times of plenty, in good and in bad times, in happiness and in sorrow. We very often enjoy the benefits of friendship and do not contribute back our part in supporting the other person, that while we enjoy their company in fun times, we disappear and dissociate ourselves from them during times of crisis and disaster. If you love the other person enough, you will look towards him or her even in your own testing moment of need.

Being a friend; beautiful yet never easy.

(thank you for making me realise that. It explains well why when people ask me who you are to me.. I still tend to say best friend before other things)

Why I Never Said Hello (So I Need Not Say Goodbye)

I saw you but a couple of hours ago,
The coffee in your cup was still fragrant and warm,
A gentle steam rose above the surface past the rims,
That look of intent on your face while sipping coffee and thinking; 

It was pretty crowded and I took a long glance at you,
Strangely my vision at that instant showed me no one else there but you, 
The centre of focus and everything else around a blur, 
Sitting there in your sweater doing work and watching the world go by;

I didn’t come over to say hello,
I didn’t feel you would like me to,
I couldn’t think of what to say to you, 
I couldn’t know if you would want to see me;

Now I’m gazing again at the very seat my eyes left you some time ago,
The cup is still there and there is but a sip of coffee left over,
This time there’s no steam rising above the rims of the coffee cup,
This time what’s left is your shadow – you aren’t there anymore;

All that’s left now is the cup that belongs to no one, 
A vacant seat there awaiting the next customer, 
The magic which attracted me there is all but gone,
And a heart as empty now belongs to no one and awaits for someone;

Maybe I should have said hello, 
Perhaps I should never have walked away,
Never to have let you go,
Now the moment’s gone and you’ve left; 

Why I never said hello:
So I need not say goodbye,
But looking at the empty cup now, 
There’s not even a goodbye to say anymore. 

 

(you know who you are, N knows it too)

N, Just Wishful Thinking

(A short post in N’s diary)

You walk into the room and you look around to see who’s in class,
If you were looking to see if I was there – well our eyes met in a light glance, 
You found a seat and sat down beside someone we both didn’t know,
I watch you take your notes out and put on your spectacles while I brush through my hair;

You did not really look in my direction during the lesson while the teacher taught,
That I was aware because I frequently looked in your direction as I pretended deep in thought, 
And yet twice from my corner I caught you stealing a glance from the corner of your eyes, 
Were you trying to see what I was doing or was it nothing but a cursory survey around the class? 

I told you she was my good friend but I think you suspect more than that,
And every time you look at me or talk to me you think of me that afternoon holding her hand, 
So much so that you avoid interactions with me so your affections won’t be so clear,
Do you not feel the conflict and the pain inside you that torments me over here? 

Maybe you don’t even care – it’s all just wishful thinking on my part, 
O why must Cupid’s arrow shoot straight through my heart like a dart? 

Pause, Play

Pause, Rewind, Play.

Let me take you to a place to meet someone,
In fact let me take you to many different places,
and meet many different people (or maybe just one person),
Give me your hand and off we can go;

Do you see a toddler taking maiden steps in the protect arms of the parents?
Are you with me at the swings watching a bunch of kids running and having fun?
Have you caught sight of a kid crying on the parent’s sleeve after a long tiring day?
Can you see boys and girls smiling widely as they graduate out of play school?

Pause, Fast forward, Play.

Now it’s time to go to other places,
And meet other people (or maybe it’s the same person),
To see different things at different times,
Grab onto my hand and we shall set off;

Do you see a person holding onto a university certificate in his hands smiling?
Are you with me at the Church to witness the bliss a young couple getting married?
Have you experienced the tension of two persons quarrelling in front of you right now? 
Do you hear the cries of a baby in the middle of the night and playful times in the afternoon?

Pause. 

Did you recognize yourself in those places and faces?
Are all of these not in your past and in your future? 
Are you at ease now or do you feel a tinge of heartache? 
Can you look back at the past and smile while having high hopes for the future to come? 

Play. 

Do you read these words and see where they all lead to – now? 

Chaos Amidst The Chaos

The hands of the watch tick on,
The past is over – lost in its track,
The future is yet to be – not to be found,
The present moment is caught in the middle; 

We look back we regret,
We look forward we fear,
We look on we wonder; 

Do we not realise that the now will next become the past, 
And the future will become the present a moment too fast? 

Yesterday should be left in the full stops of the sentences written,
Tomorrow should be kept in the space where ink has yet to meet paper,
Today is where the ink flows and the words piece together;

There is chaos amidst the chaos. 

All In The Life of N

  N meets a girl named Clarice in school from another class and they become really good friends. Clarice and N spend almost all their breaks and free time in school together and they often share things as well as secrets with each other which they are likely not to share with anyone else. They grow close as the days go by and the two clearly share a firm and tight friendship between them. 

 

  One day in between lessons the pair sit down at a bench to relax before their respective next lessons begin. Clarice initials a conversation and touches to a subject they hardly touch on. 

  Clarice: N, N, N! I think you did mention before that you have a girlfriend right? Hey, is that why you always disappear after school and I hardly can get you to study with me in the library? 

  N: Hmm Clarice, why do you ask?

  Clarice: I’m just curious! Oh come on, you don’t have to be shy about it. We’re best friends so it’s okay to tell me this sort of thing. Don’t worry I won’t get jealous or anything like that. (laughs and looks away) 

  N: (laughs) Yeah actually I do have a girlfriend but not many people know about it, or about her. I quite like it this way really. 

  Clarice: oh.. I see, I thought so! How can a popular and nice guy like you be single? Who was I kidding when I thought you didn’t have a girlfriend. To think you didn’t tell me until I asked, humph to think we were such best friends! Bye! (pouts, then proceeds to burst into laughter and walks back into her classrrom) 

[to be continued]

A Drizzle, A Walk

  The bell chimes and the announcement is heard over the sound system. 

  It’s time for M to leave his zone of comfort and call it a night again.

  M steps out into the open and he feels the cool air descend upon his skin. He looks up at the sky and sees a thick layer of clouds hiding the moon and the stars, catching in his line of vision tiny droplets falling against the glow of the street lamp. The minute raindrops land onto M’s nose and slide down his cheek slowly as he takes every step in a direction which may or may not point homewards.

  He smiles slightly as the soft drizzle cools the air and lightens up his night, as though in unison with the little tinge of sorrow in his heart that tugs gently at him as he looks up and sees no inspiration from above.

  A lost track, a missing path, an absent trail.

  Such irony in going so far yet not getting any closer.  He continues walking in a direction which he knows not lead where to, unsure even if the road ahead would take him to greater heights or lower depths.

  He walks on.