~ Friendship or something else ~

Leo Tolstoy, one of the greatest writers and greatest minds ever, gave the most beautiful ode to friendship in only 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 solid 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 is gone. It always seems to us that, the more we strive to get closer to one another, that gap is getting bigger. It does not help us find a material, so that we can build strong bridges that would merge us. Unfortunately, our bridges are collapsing. Tired of the constant renewal and construction of new ones, we sometimes wonder if they should be lifted at all, when they are so fragile and last only until the first quake and the first swollen river. With the rapid development of science and technology, the distances are getting bigger. They disturb our friendships and feelings, no matter how hard we admit it to ourselves and others. Long absences create empties that can not be filled with anything. We are often wondering whether it made sense at all to build a friendship from clouds and to believe in something that does not exist. After some time, we begin to doubt its sincerity and ask ourselves: was it really a true friendship or something else, hidden behind beautiful words and smiles? If it was sincerely why it did not last? Why did it let us go our own way and not look back? Many people, whose participation in our lives once was once great, became with time only abstract concepts and something else from what we expected. We do not even remember when and why these moments of separation occurred. Perhaps, instead of us, the decision was made by our instinct, which, unlike us, is often right. We come to the conclusion that we can only give lively and deep emotions and feelings only to those whom we have in front of us, and that everything else is deceiving and long ago told stories that have not left a trace, which once passed through our home and disappeared with the first cleaning. Unfortunately, this conclusion comes after many disappointments. All our efforts become a suspicion that everything was one big lie wrapped up by our huge desire for sincere friendship. Some may have recognized our desire and have used it skillfully to achieve some of their goals. Then, when they no longer need us, they suddenly dismiss us and turn their back, as if we had never existed. Long after that we blame ourselves and wonder why they suddenly disappeared? Were we really so unimportant to them? Why did they betray us? Why did we deserve it? There are no answers. Simply, we were not important to them. They did not matter to our tears, our joys, our ups and downs. What they wanted to take from us, they took and left. They left us alone, with a notebook and pencil, to write a story about our pain, about the people who come and go, about the cunning that only loves naive and honest people. Wise Seneca said that happiness creates a friend, and that misfortune tests him. Why is it so difficult to recognize a sincere friend? Does he always have to be with us so that we can trust him? Does he have to pity us and support every decision we make so that we can love him? Will he wait for us after our victory? Will he find us when life throws us into an unknown place? It is enough to remember Karl 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 some 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 and sincerity; 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 heavy roles, 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 skillfully hid behind them from themselves and others. Those without masks passed by us quietly like a shadow and disappeared forever. We don’t remember their faces, but we remember their actions and deeds; after many years their words echo in our minds. Only then do we realize that we went to the wrong ball and that we met the wrong people at that ball. The weirdest thing is that man understands and realizes himself and his own purpose of existing at the end of his life.
Friendship or something else, author Suzana Stojanović, August 22, 2007