Just Thinking

On Friendship
1/22/2018 12:00:01 AM by: C.L. Lawrence

     Back in the day, we had dinner every night at 6:00.  No matter what you were doing or where you were, you had to be hands washed and at the table by 6:00.  That’s where discussions happened; good, bad, happy, sad, praise or scolding.  The dinner table was where everyone talked and listened. A lot of life lessons came across the dinner table. 

     One of the most poignant lessons I learned was about friendship; what friendship means and what it means to be a friend; a real friend, not the liberal label affixed to a mere acquaintance, or relationship untested by time and experience. What I learned has been the guiding principle regarding friendship all of my life.

     My father was well known, highly respected, old school southern gentleman, with many acquaintances in the varied arenas of his life (businesses, church, community, lodges, civic organizations, …).  A lot of people called him friend, but he had only a few he called friend.  One of his friends was “rumored” to be a womanizer. Let’s call him, Jasper.  It was a widely known rumor, you know, the secret that everyone knows but no one talks about.  Once in a while the subject of Jasper’s less than discreet behavior would find its way into a conversation at dinner, but Dad would immediately shut it down.

     When Jasper died, people began talking about what they knew.  People like a good gossip story so there was no shortage of listeners eager to pass it on to whoever would listen.  Chatter had gotten rather heated.  Jasper was dead so we naturally thought at dinner one night we’d finally get the scoop.   If anyone knew the facts, my father was the one.

     Mom threw out subtle hints opening the door to get the scoop.  Dad didn’t take the bait.  Finally mom just came out and asked about Jasper’s womanizing. She said, “Jasper’s dead. You can tell the story now.”  Dad’s response brought silence and stillness to the room. Dad said, in his very stern and deliberate manner:

“Jasper is dead but our friendship is not.  I was his friend while he was alive, and I remain his friend                     though he’s dead. Death took my friend, but it did not and cannot take the friendship.”

     Not another word was spoken at the table that night. I remember at that moment admiring my father even more than I already did. He knew stuff, and I knew he knew it, yet he didn’t confirm or deny. Instead, he quite comfortably stood in the posture of what he believed to be the integrity of friendship.

     It takes a really different kind of person to be a friend like that.  The kind of friend that says, no matter what the choir sings, I will never join in the chorus of the song that uncovers the shame of a friend.  Just Thinking

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Ruth From Virginia At 2/7/2018 8:27:39 PM

I so enjoyed this article as I have the other articles ..Thanks for sharing.

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