Leo Tolstoy, one of the greatest writers and greatest minds ever, gave the greatest ode to friendship in just one sentence: "If all the streams in the world cheered, if all the seas spoke and all the mountains sang, they could still not weave the ode to friendship, the only creation in the universe that is not pure necessity of nature but a hard alloy of spirit." In that endless universe we are trying to overcome the awful and vast distance from man to man. That distance is so great that we can approach each other only by trying really hard and even our one weakness and action can drift us apart forever, and everything we have built with great effort becomes something else entirely. The distance and long absence affect friendship, even though we are unwilling to admit that to ourselves and others. Because people that we don’t see, even if they are our beloved friends, in time become abstract concepts, and our participation in their lives becomes more and more rational. Live and deep affection and emotion can be given only to those who are in front of our eyes. On the other hand, there is a strange kind of people that do not leave our homes. They are always present. At first, they talk, and when they tell all their stories, they become quiet and doze more and more. They are called "house friends" and that term is appropriate because they are the friends of the house rather than the master of the house. They are more similar to cats than dogs. They spoil us, they forgive us, they brainwash us and they throw to airwaves precious moments of our short lives for good. We wonder whether it is friendship or something else entirely. And then we realize that we need a few honest friends and few good enemies in order to succeed. A false friend, he is the worst and the most dangerous man in our environment. He is always there when we are right. He grieves over our misery, but he does not rejoice in our happiness. The wound that he makes never heals. Wise Seneca said that happiness creates a friend and that misery tests him. How do we recognize a true friend? It is enough to remember Carl Heinrich Marx and the fact that man recognizes his true friend after defeat. Do we have to wait to be defeated? Are we going to afford ourselves the luxury that our real friends disappear forever in the shadow of our self-love? We must never forget that we get to know our friend the moment we lose him. They say that only the poor know the real values of friendship. There is truth in that. It is very simple to make someone happy. People need no more than true interest. The best thing we can do when our friend suffers is to share the suffering with him, to be with him even when we have nothing more to offer but our presence; to find the solution and bring him back to the right path when he strays; to rejoice with him when he rejoices, to fool around when he fools around. Life is short, and no matter how serious it requires us to be, we always need friends to fool around with them, to remember together. When everything passes, we have only memories left. If there are no memories, we can never say: "It was worth living." The end of our life is like the end of a costume ball: participants, being too tired of their false faces, remove their masks and make-up with such a relief. Everyone then sees who those people were, those that they shared their lives with. Some of them never took off their beautiful masks; they skilfully hid behind them from themselves and others. Those without masks, not so pretty, passed by us quietly like a shadow and disappeared forever. We don’t remember their faces but we remember their actions and deeds, after so many years their words echo in our minds. The weirdest thing is that man understands and realizes himself, his own purpose of existing at the end of his life.
Friendship or something else, author Suzana Stojanović, August 22, 2007