One of the nice things about clearing the decks of the blog is that I can pick and choose old posts from time to time – to make them new again. A version of the following post first appeared in 2007.
Through many times in my life I have struggled to find the place where being a good person ends, and friendship begins – and where friendship ends and love begins.
Those who know me a little may well see by turns an idealist, a clown, flashes of intelligence, or even idiocy at times. Those closest to me perhaps know another person – the person who lifts when others are down – who includes when others are excluded – who tries to fix when others are broken. You might call it the pursuit of happiness in others.
There appear to be many different kinds of people in this world, and where many people take in order to give, I seem to be a spring – a well or sorts. It’s interesting in many ways – while not subscribing to eastern philosophies as such I have drawn many parallels with those who can heal – the idea that energy can be given and taken between living creatures is appealing. I read the Celestine Prophecy many years ago, and while the book is on the whole dreadful, the central idea of energy, and the complex transactions that take place in the world around us seemed plausible.
Fixing people is a dangerous game though. The energy you share with others is not infinite. Quite often it will be re-paid for no more reason than “you listened”, or “you noticed”, but sometimes it is not repaid – indeed, some people seem to spend their life continually sucking energy from everybody they cross paths with.
Anybody with children knows that you pour into them your hopes, your dreams, even your life – and after giving everything you have, you face a day when they fly the nest – when they stand as your equal and find their own way without need of your assistance. The same is true of close friends that you have perhaps helped through hard times – you prop up, listen, share thoughts, carry confidances, and then – when you have lifted them back onto their feet you have to face the time when they can once more face the world – and strangely you may never be quite as close as you once were.
It’s a difficult thing – friendship – if you give too much, you may not receive equally in return. If you don’t give enough, the friendship may not happen at all – which raises an entirely different question; why do we need friends? Is it a part of the human condition? Some people seem to *need* those close to them far more than others – and I suspect I may fall into that bracket.
One thing I do know is that despite the sense of loss you might experience when somebody turns to finally face the world once more, you can take heart from the knowledge that you had a part to play in their reconstruction. There is a tremendous sense of pride – the pride of being a friend – of having been there at their lowest ebb. A pride in having shared their problems and lightened their load.