How do you measure a year?
It is the end of the year 2013. A year. A measurement of time. How do you measure a year? Twelve months? Fifty-two weeks? Three hundred and sixty-five days? Eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty hours? Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes? I am choosing to measure mine in friendships.
Some friends visited a few days ago. They brought us flowers. White lilies, still in their buds. I put them in a vase with some water. Since then, they have slowly been unfurling into full bloom. They remind me of some of Jesus’ words in the famous Sermon on the Mount.
“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin,yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.…” Matthew 6:27- 29.
I have been ruminating about friendships. When it comes to making friends, I tend to dive right in. A few interactions with someone are enough to convince me to forge ahead in pursuing a friendship with them. Sometimes, my impulsiveness pays off and deep, lasting friendships are formed. Other times, I get my fingers bitten and realise that I have been naive and presumptuous.
Friends can be gifts, filling your space with joy and energy. Like well-tended plants. But here is the thing, I am not green-fingered. Plants do not thrive in my hands. I seem to have come wired with the ability to wither the hardiest of plants. Yet, I appreciate their beauty.
Some plants are delicate and need a lot of attention, watering, weeding, pruning. Others are robust, rugged. They thrive with little or no input.
Some friendships require a little more nurturing, regular contact, phone calls, emails, texts etc. They may not die off without these but they certainly do not do as well as with them.
Then there are those friendships like climbing plants. They need a framework to grow on. Their stems possess little ability to bear any weight yet are very tensile and have considerable strength. This kind has the tendency to weigh you down, sapping your very essence, constantly taking, hardly ever giving.
Yes, friendship is a bit like plants. Some spring up as soon as you meet. A connection is made and weathering every storm, the friendship thrives and grows stronger, irrespective of distance, space and long absences. A garden is all the more beautiful for having different kinds of plants in it.
I have been blessed by the gift of different kinds of friendship. These beautiful plants that brighten the garden of my life with bold splashes of colour.
And so, as 2013 draws to an end, here, my dear friends, here’s to you, to those who have gone ahead and to our friendship!
“Seasons of Love” is a song from the Broadway musical Rent, written and composed by Jonathan Larson. This cover is from the third episode of the fifth season of Glee, The Quarterback, as a tribute to Cory Monteith and his character Finn Hudson.