Friendship

Ben HurI’ve been reminded recently about what friendship means. More accurately, I’ve been reminded about what friendship means to me. What does it mean to you? If we were to all write a short definition of the meaning of friendship, collectively we couldn’t conjure up a comprehensive and exact explanation of the concept. The reason for this is because grasping at a collection of words that attempts to describe friendship is akin to trying to grasp a warm and comforting summer’s breeze. Neither can be seen or touched no matter how strongly they touch us. Both are perfectly melancholic in the right circumstances. Neither can be easily understood unless contemplatively experienced. The truth is that friendship, like the smooth embrace of a late August’s Sunday afternoon breeze, can only be understood once felt with both closed eyes and an open heart.

In work, friendship can be fleeting; created through circumstance and perpetuated through convenience. It can be easily ended – no matter the intention – and quickly forgotten. It’s the rare occurrence that a work friendship can survive distance, separation, or turmoil. To me, work friendships can be either fleeting or strong, strictly dependent on both people’s willingness to commit.

In life, friendship can be eternal; created by fate, perpetuated through conviction, never-ending and eternally present, no matter the circumstances. True friendships run deep and constant, and much like hope, create optimism that springs eternal. It’s the rare occurrence that a true friendship in life can be broken, regardless of distance, separation, or turmoil. Life’s friendships are never fleeting and are always strong; because undying commitment is expressly implied.

So, in context of those two realms – work and life, what does friendship mean to you?

To me, it means permanent optimism and hope; a late night call made for the sole purpose of showing gratitude and recognition for a friend always being there no matter life’s weather. Storms come and go, but a light summer breeze carries on somewhere forever. Friends come and go, but a true friend is always there, even if they’re nowhere close.

In movies, because, as pieces of art they are permanent and unchangeable, friendships are wonderfully eternal and perpetually predicable. Movie friendships are easily described and understood, and because of that, they are representative of the imperfect words we try to conjure. One just has to sit back, close the eyes, open the heart, and feel the warm breeze of unchangeable familiarity.

Here are a few movie quotes that to me, feel kind of like both a summer’s breeze and a late night call from a real friend.

“I found out what the secret to life is – friends. Best friends.”  – Jessica Tandy in Fried Green Tomatoes

“Remember George, no man is a failure who has friends.”  – Henry Travers in It’s a Wonderful Life

“I find I’m so excited that I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at a start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.” – Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption

“It’s an insane world but in it there’s one sanity, the loyalty of old friends.”  – Charlton Heston in Ben Hur