I wasn't going to post today but I read a quote that stimulated my thinker...
"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival." - C. S. Lewis
My initial reaction to this was "right on!" but the more I considered my own friendships I found my experiences to be contradictory to the quote.
I understand that Mr. Lewis is saying you don't need friends to live, function. Your body will run as it should with out them. You just need the basics: food, water, shelter...you can even experience love with out friends from your family. You can be friends with your family but it's not the same.
I think we often treat our friends better then family because there is a chance that they could leave. Your family will not, can't, shouldn't. Even if you are estranged from your family you are still connected to them.
There are people that you can love without being their friend. Friendship is more then just that. I love my sons but I'm not their friend. I can't be. I have a job as a parent to do.
When the hard times of life come it's friends (and family) that pull you through them. I'm not sure how one gets to the other side of those really hard times with out a friend. And it only takes one. One really good, die hard friend that takes you for the good, the bad and the ugly and trudges through the muck of life with you and help you to survive it and move on to the more lovely times that life has for us.
I remember a very low time in my life. College. Everyone told me college is the best time of your life! You'll love it! But for me college was awful. For one I've just never been a good student and two, my parents divorced during my first year. I was at a community college and was home for it. I thought about taking off in my car headed for no where all the time.
One week after my parents split, my cat died. I came home and found it stiff with rigormortis. At that time I was friends with two guys, Takashi and Kevin. I found girls my age to be too catty and competitive (and probably I was too.) It was TK and Kev who came to bury my cat. Rather, TK did the digging while Kevin cracked jokes. After the cat funeral, they dragged me out to shoot pool. I felt like I just went along with them everywhere at that time. They held me up like a wounded soldier, one under each arm, lugging me from school, to lunch, to home, to rollerblading or the like. I'm not even sure if they knew it.
After two years of community college I left home to attend Texas Woman's University in Denton,TX. Good God, this was the worst! I was paying for school myself. I worked three part-time jobs while going to school full-time. I was trying to get into a program that only accepted about 40 students and so my grades needed to not just be good but the best.
It was the first time to manage money and life alone. I was not very good at it. I had bill collectors calling because bills were late. My gas card was shut off due to tardy payments but I needed gas in my car to get me to work to pay the gas card bill so that I can buy gas to go to work to pay the other bills. I owed the IRS money because, even though I was not receiving financial help from my parents, I was considered a dependent. Someone in my life had offered to make my car payment ($89/month) but had not payed for several months and so I got a letter saying my car would be repossessed.
Destined to be a mother, I was taking care of the other girls on campus too. (Now, this was my fault.) I brought it on myself but I was the one to call in the middle of the night because you were too drunk to drive home, the ear to listen to your relationship problems with significant others, family, or friends, the one to comfort you when your heart had been broken... And I was engaged.
One night the phone rang. My roommate, Toni, was answering the phone from now on so I could avoid bill collectors calls.
"No, you may not talk to her. You need to start dealing with your own business your self! She's trying to study, and work and plan a wedding. Goodbye." And she hung up as easily as if she had just been on the phone ordering a pizza.
I stared at her in disbelief. She was not looking at me but already back to her studying. Finally she looked up at me and said "you have to stop taking care of everybody else. You are not their mother. Take care of your own business." And that was that.
She and another friend bailed me out of another bad spot. (That's another story.) So I owed my friends money and the credit card companies and the IRS. I donated plasma to make extra money. I considered a wet t-shirt contest but could not bring myself to do it. (Thank goodness!)
Toni also drove me to work once or twice when I was out of gas. On one of these taxi trips she applied for a job at the same restaurant I was working at. She needed a job but I have often wondered if she applied there so that I could have a ride.
Through all of this was my fiance. It was a long distance relationship as he was at another school. That added another element of loneliness. He was the one that really kept me grounded, or at least tried to. I was angry and frustrated. I always did my best to do what was right and it seemed to have gotten me no where. Everyone else was doing what ever they wanted/needed to make them happy. I did what I should and was miserable. I hoped a car would hit me. Not kill me but lay me up in the hospital a bit, just to get a break from school and the rest. But Aaron encouraged me to not tire of doing what was right. The rewards would come. Immediate gratification was short lived and often left a build up of residual trouble.
It was Aaron and my friend Rob who helped me to stop being my parent's child and start being an adult. They gave me courage to start making my own decisions for my life and in a way that would not be disrespectful to my parents.
If it were not for these friends I don't know how I would have pulled through this difficult time. It was a time where family was not much help because they were all wounded and struggling too. It was a time of great growing pains and self realization. College was not the best time of my life but it may have been a time that made the best parts of me.
I never finished. 5 years of college and no degree. But I came out full of knowledge. I survived my parents divorce and college because of my friends. I don't know then that I can agree with C.S. Lewis that we don't need friends to survive. I think it would be difficult to find a survivor who said they did it alone.