Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kindness Keys 8/29/09

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Hurry and get you note book ready because September is coming and that means all the quotes will be from DB....
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Last night, while I was asleep, someone came into my apartment and stole the whistle out of my tea kettle. Now, when the water boils, the poor thing just groans.
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It is the network of friendship that cements civilization together. That has been said by many people in many different ways. And I agree. A good friendship is like a bethel, a safe harbor in the storms of life. A good friend is one who will listen to your grief, fear and rage without being shocked or disgusted. A good friend is one who will allow you to go temporarily crazy without reporting you to the authorities. A good friend is one who will share your joy and be happy that you are happy. A good friend is one who will applaud your success without being envious. A good friend is one who sill prevent you from putting your foot in the bear trap, or will help you get free if you do. A good friend is one who genuinely cares about you.

But one of the oddest phenomena of life is the comfort of strangers when the bad accidents of life happen and the pain is intense, and, at the same time, the unexplained retreat of friends.

I have been searching myself to find those times when I could have been there for a friend and I wasn't. Yes, there were times I could have been a better friend. I'm trying to understand why I wasn't. Did I have some dispute with my friend? So what, we were friends and the trouble transcends any dispute. Was I too lazy to help? I have been able to tax myself to the limit when something was important to me. Was I too self-involved to be of help? Ah, there's a good excuse. I've got my own problems. Why should I bother about anyone else's?

The answer is that we share life, we share breathe, we share the planet. If there is trouble, natural disasters, illness, poverty, meanness, people doing terrible things to other people, it means there is danger on our own doorstep, sitting on our own front porch. If there is one person unlawfully imprisoned our own freedoms are threatened. If there is one pitiful creature suffering cruelty at the hands of some sadist it means we, as a people, are represented in the world by the worst of humanity. If someone is dying and we don't surround them with the comfort of life it is sending them off in a shroud of despair.

In my current anguish I have been graced with an overwhelming gush of sympathy, encouragement, advice and care by many people, some whose names I don't even know. It is the network of friendship that cements civilization together. But how do we define and measure friendship? To protect and defend life is a full time job. It is not for the absent and silent, it is not about philosophy, politics or opinions. It is about having the courage to reach into the fire to rescue someone from it. It is about surrounding the fallen and vulnerable to protect them from harm. It is about rising from the bed of warmth and comfort to provide comfort to the distressed. It is about going out even in the midst of your own darkness to applaud the sun rising in someone's life. It is about marching alongside one who is going into battle against the world's villainy. It is about lifting the other end of the heavy weight of fear without being asked. It is about standing tall, strong and high above everything that pulls people down.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manner of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

John Donne
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Vagabond Journeys
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5 comments:

Wes said...

D.B

Being human I can relate your words. I have been to the place you speak of, and sometimes it's my hiding place. Just because I've been there, doesn't mean I've worn your shoes.

We all walk our own path in life, sometimes with good people. We must travel the roads alone as well. Sometimes meet up at Life's Diner when possible.

I've learned that even if we drag people with us, they can get left behind. It took me many years to realize that this, even when I walk alone, they hitch a ride in my thoughts and heart always.

Regrets and doubt can follow us, but the lessons of love embrace the reasons. Even if we can't fully see them.

Walking in the heat of things can cause a mirage, but it's not there. Even so, we keep walking tall. Moving forward until we locate our oasis.

One thing that is certain, that my friendship is not a mirage. So, next time your in Life's Diner, put it on my tab. If I'm there when you arrive, there will be a chair for you.

P&L
Wes

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Well said friend :o)

Beth said...

What a beautiful entry, D. Maybe being a friend to someone is sometimes as simple as just letting them know they're not alone in this world. Or then there's the saying that a friend will bail you out of jail; a good friend will be sitting there beside you saying, "Damn! That was fun!" :D Love, Beth

Bonnie Bonsai said...

The Bible taught us "to entertain strangers" for we'll never know if they are Angels in disguise.

Great post DB.

Linda S. Socha said...

Once a long time ago I read something like this on a friends wall

A friend is one who knows where you are headed, understands where you have been and still gently invites you to grow.
Loved your post ....I always do .
Linda