Haven’t posted in some days now. I realise I’ve been excluding people with words, thoughts and actions, definitely antithetical to whatever this blog was meant to be. The thing is that JC life naturally tends toward a sort of exclusion, with a slow but forbidding pace that gently rebukes any attempt to prevent the ebbing away of weaker friendships (which in my case probably means all but a few) in exchange for a number of new ones.
I have been rather pensive as to the making and breaking of friendships of late, due to reasons less obvious than you would think – it’s all fine and dandy to maintain the status quo but also horribly unproductive (not to mention my thinly disguised distaste that surfaces in the absence of change). On the other hand, I appreciate the few moments that surprise me, since they provoke thought and aspire toward a new, sensible synthesis about Things & People I Value. Some moments are unbearably embarrassing and spiritual (such as offering to pray for someone you barely know but want to); others are relatively uncomplicated and simple, like receiving a very unexpected parcel in the mail…
I have come to the conclusion that it takes nothing to be a good friend or have many friends, not a healthy proportion of similarities and differences, not even a sense of humour or a particularly attractive personality – nothing except a deep-seated desire to have friends and to be a good friend. Friendship is necessarily contingent on reciprocity, but what I didn’t know was that reciprocity is all there is to friendship! I have seen smart and “tolerably attractive” (to borrow from Lockwood, contextual nuances retained) people trapped in their bubble of friendless solitude because they felt irreconcilably superior to the people who would be their friends; I have also seen people whom I personally wouldn’t give a hoot about, the subjects of elaborate celebrations and the recipients of niceties and cake. It really doesn’t make any sense, does it?… except that it does. You reap what you sow: this is Buddhist karma in action, and also Christian orthodoxy, and is doubtlessly in one way or another a tenet of all the other religions in the world (except probably Scientology, but it doesn’t count).
As for judging potential friends: I admit I’m an excessively judgmental person. There is a category in my brain labelled “What a Fag” (WaF), in which I file away meticulously a list of people I see walking around who look like they could be fags (WaFfles). I then make a note to subject them to painful subjugation the next time I come into contact with them. (I am sadly more of a bully than my cherubic face and scrawny forearms let on.) But what gives me hope is that these judgements are all too susceptible to change, if you only allow for said change! Preconceived notions were meant to be shattered, and I have met many a WaFfle who have proved to boast exceedingly charming personalities.
(Maybe this post is in part inspired by the brilliant Christmas Carol play I watched at Jubilee Hall last Wednesday, but) there is a very pressing need for everyone to rest assured that his funeral will be one well-attended and graced with tears, because only then can that person know that he has been a friend, and has in turn had the pleasure of having friends who celebrated him and will mourn him in his passing. And the urgency of this need means that we should look beyond obvious traits in deciding whether or not someone ‘qualifies’ as a ‘worthy’ friend. There’s a friend inside everyone.