The vows of Friendship …

“Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.”

On Friendship – Khalil Gibran

Friendship is the most delicious of all relationships.

Throughout the years, I’ve written about it and its infinite effects on our lives and moods.  But the more I write about friendship, the more I uncover to explore and share.

Despite its sacredness, or perhaps because of it, friendship is also the most threatening relationship to those who sit outside the spiritual bond — the cosmic connection — between two friends.

“We’re just friends,” we say to deflect the suspicions of those who question the energy created by two people caught up in the seduction of friendship.

Friendship is a runaway train that can’t be stopped.  There’s nothing “just” about it.

Unlike marriage or traditional partnerships, it is not confined by vows or expectations.  This most precious of unions redefines itself moment by moment — without thought, without effort, without fear.

It’s in the silence between the words — the space between the notes — that the music of friendship is sweetest.

As Gibran so eloquently writes …

For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires,

all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.

But the very thing that makes friendship so easy, also makes it the most difficult. Because our traditional relationships, and the expectations that define them, force us to temporarily put our friendships aside to meet our other commitments.

When you part from your friend, you grieve not;

For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence,

as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

That’s easy to do with friends who are one notch above acquaintances.  But parting from an intimate friend — a person whose intimacy is more powerful than physical intimacy — rips the breath out of your lungs and the life out of your soul.

Once you achieve the clarity born from the absence from a friend, you want nothing more than to stay in it’s embrace. And you’re willing to risk it all to make that happen.

And therein lies the danger of friendship.  It’s a powerful drug on which it’s easy to get addicted.  And with addiction come the expectations that can poison the bond.

Once again, Gibran offers the antidote.

Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.

For love that seeks anything but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth:

and only the unprofitable is caught.

There’s nothing quite as strong as the bond of friendship.  There’s also nothing quite as fragile.

And so, my friend, for now — for always, no matter where life leads us — I promise you this …

To be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.

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