"A true friend is the greatest of all blessings, and the one that we take the least care of all to acquire." Francois de La Rochefoucauld
After a three week hiatus; being in absentia from blogging, internet access, life as we know it, social media and more, it is great to be back in New York and my connections here. My time away has been a blessing with cherished memories that will stay with me for life. I found that the human spirit is both flexible and resilient; we adapt to new environments and experiences and make necessary adjustments when we must. With that often comes the support and blessings of our friends and family and that is why this week's offering from Kathy of Mamakat’s is perfect.
As you might know, I joined her Writer's Workshop in late summer and periodically feature a prompt here. Kathy generously devotes part of her busy schedule, as a mom of three, to send weekly prompts to members of the writer's group. We choose one from a short list, write on it and then add it to a page link where everyone gathers to click and give comments/support to at least 3 other bloggers. I love the idea because it helps keep me focused on sharing blog posts in a community, forming new friendships and being part of a group of writers with a common goal.
This week’s prompt: Write about a time when you stuck up for a friend.
Throughout our lifetime, we form all manner of friendships; some intimate, some close and lifelong, some distant, some familial, others short term or even fractured. Each connection holds a memory bank of events, images, conversations and reminiscences that sometimes have a profound impact on our lives. Our friendships are to be valued and never taken lightly ... but we sometimes do. Are there friends you know who are always available and helpful? Do we stop to honor them with a special treat, card or more than a thank you? Do we as the saying goes, always rise to the occasion to "watch their back" or defend them?
We are all somewhat guilty of assuming that our most treasured friends know we cherish them. Yes, we all love our friends and would help them when necessary but we shouldn't always wait for an occasion to reciprocate we can honor them now. My story below took me back to a moment when I had to stand up for a great friend who was being insulted by, you got it, another ... friend!
On another note, before you read my story, I'd love to share that I am the featured blogger on Stacie of Survey Junkie's blog. Stacie started her Getting To Know You posts last August and she features a different blogger every week. You can even add your name/details to a form and she contacts you when she has scheduled you. Definitely an act of friendship and kindness rolled in one. Thank you for your generosity and friendship Stacie!
Back in my high school days in England, I had a group of friends who were the life and soul of every party. They loved great music, slick cars, fine wining and dining and stayed on the cutting edge of the music world. We had many fabulous outings together and whenever I flash back to those years, memories of my great friend, Ahmed, comes front and center.
Ahmed was a very smart and sensitive soul. He was great at electronics, read widely, and was planning to be an engineering student in college. He drove an imported flashy car, but was the kindest and most humble person. He had exquisite taste and was quite astute at finding those hidden specialty boutiques in Knightsbridge, on Bond St or even Kings Rd. Whenever he found a shop, he would tell me and we'd all go shopping for clothes, shoes and other trinkets. While my sister, Joy, was the first person I know to own a pair in the late 1970s, Ahmed knew of Manolo Blahnik, and took me shoe shopping years and years before the TV show - Sex in The City - made Manolos a household name in the US... By the way, we called them Blahniks in England... always by the last name.
I had another friend, Bea, who for whatever reason didn't like Ahmed. Whenever she was around our group of friends, she would deliberately find a way to hurl an insult at him or make some smart ass and quite unnecessary remark. We would caution her and he would slough it off and say she needed to figure it out for herself. When I would ask her privately why she was hostile to Ahmed, she never could give me a clear and straightforward answer.While Bea had a terrific sense of humor and could be tons of fun, having fits of anger was also part of her repertoire. She would react to the smallest thing and go ballistic ... it got quite tedious after some time.
One fateful day, we gathered at my home for brunch and everyone agreed to bring something to the gathering. We had a lovely spread; scones, tea cakes, scrambled eggs, crumble, tarts, fruits and veggies and lots of beverage choices. We were having a good old time, when out of the blue, Bea decided to make a rude remark to Ahmed. I immediately cautioned her that, as a guest in my home, I expected her to refrain from her usual public behavior as I wanted all my guests to have a good time. She did but only for a short while...
Before I knew it, Bea was at him again, only this time she crossed the line and made a stupid comment about his religious beliefs. Everyone was outraged and Ahmed was very upset... I was done and this time I took charge of the situation and defended him! I told her off and invited her to leave my home and to stay away until she apologized to both Ahmed and the entire group. I have no patience for religious intolerance as, I believe, we must respect other people's rights to practice their faith just as we want our own religious practices respected. She stalked off, our friendship sorely fractured, and I didn't hear from her again for several years.
She apologized and I forgave her, but we are no longer close friends. Ahmed and our group appreciated my taking a stand that day and we all agreed that as a fairly international group of people who traveled and connected with others, we did not need our valued friendships sullied by negativity and religious intolerance. I would do it again.
Our friendships are precious; some are forever, yet others are for a short time and we can't be true to our friends if we operate from a place of resentment and petty hatreds. If we stand by and watch our friends being maligned, we are silently consenting with the abuse. We must speak up and speak out. What would you have done? When did you last stick up for a friend?
Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Until Next Time…
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