We are on holiday with lots of friends and family - and I have just realised that amongst them are at least eighteen of my facebook friends. Family should of course also be friends and it is an added blessing when they are!
'Friend' has of course taken on a different meaning since the advent of social networking when one nominates 'friends' on sites like facebook. But never the less all these friends are - or should be - just as important in our lives.
Tennyson wrote a very long poem - 'In Memoriam' on the death of his friend, Arthur Hallam. I won't try you all with that although it is of course a masterpiece. Instead the following is written with thought to all my friends whether we meet up once a year, virtually on the internet or every day in real life. Every friend is important to me!
Saint Augustine had as always a couple of wise pieces of advice about friends:
I want my friend to miss me as long as I miss him.
If two friends ask you to judge a dispute, don't accept, because you will lose one friend; on the other hand, if two strangers come with the same request, accept because you will gain one friend.
And a warning from the great William Blake about the difference between friendship and enimity:
A Poison Tree
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I water'd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I summoned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,
And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.
So dedicated to all my friends and family from a cold and wet West Country which is made warm by the friends and family who are here with us and the love of those who are in other parts of the world!:
Emily Dickinson - Are Friends Delight or Pain?
Are Friends Delight or Pain?
Could Bounty but remain
Riches were good --
But if they only stay
Ampler to fly away
Riches are sad.
For the record - my reading of this is that Friends who stay are better than all the 'Bounty and Riches'. My friends certainly are.
[Elizannie is on holiday and trying to ignore politics and contentious thoughts. However this blog is worth reading: