Learning is done best by examples. Children learn best through examples set by adults. Education is structured on strengthening theoretical foundations by practical examples. Even the animal world, from what has been observed, picks up quickly on good practice.
It seems, with a certain amount of intelligence, it is easy to pick up on beneficial behaviour from your immediate environment and imitate it. The trick often lies in having the intellect to identify what is beneficial and what is not. It seems in an immature or insecure mind this ability is diminished, resulting in overrating and emulating behaviour that is actually detrimental.
In a nut-shell, my two pence on Friendship day is that with a bit of luck, a healthy frame of mind and the right priorities, we surround ourselves with people that are good for us. Whose examples we can learn from to become better people ourselves. And we do this naturally, to survive and evolve. Of course there is the matter of emotions and circumstances that finally deicide which relationships last and which must go. But by and large, in our lives - excluding the disorienting years of adolescence - the basic premise for finding and maintaining good meaningful friendships lies within ourselves.
Despite my trampling directness and tardy emotions, I have the great fortune today of celebrating a few meaningful friendships that I am perpetually learning from.
Of these, there is one golden girl, I want to pay a special tribute to today. We, your world, are your audience. This is your stage.
I'm always intrigued by people with infectious positivity. Being a die hard realist, I find it fascinating to be around people that always see the silver lining. Although I find all the optimism sometimes mildly irritating, I have learnt to squint for the silver lining.
Only since I've known you, have I realised it takes a lot more than squinting. In knowing you, I have learnt that happiness takes energy, generosity and discipline to be stubbornly, unfailingly light hearted in the face of reality and the hand that life has dealt you. You take it, you make it.
When you finally wrote off a marriage you trustingly whole-heartedly entered into, to a self absorbed, promiscuous narcissist, you did it with peace. Knowing you had left no stone unturned. You promised yourself you'd make up for the hole he ripped open, so your son would come out of it unscathed. Every day for the past 7 years, you have reinforced that resolve, swallowing your dignity, paying the price it takes every single day to keep his world intact. You son is a bubbly, curious delight of a 9 year, safely exploring and unfolding to adulthood.
When you buried your daughter and mourned her demise, again you found your peace in letting her go. The greatest tribute of love was in placing her liberation above your need to hurt and heal.
Have you realised, you're always smiling? And yes, people take the happy one for granted. You are a single working mum, in a foreign country, handling all the annoying bureaucratic details in a foreign language. And you're always smiling. Why is it you're always smiling?? When I'm angry or stressed at work, I'm grumpy at home. I take a free snap or two at some some poor victim in my trusted circle. Everyone is alerted and careful not to trigger the 'bad mood' lurking. That is how most mortals are. We use our unhappiness as control over others. With you, we don't have to be careful of your feelings or try and keep your spirits high. We playfully call you our 'sunshine'. Gold and radiant like your name implies. You're self sufficient. A cushion for others. You seem most content when there is someone you can reach out to and help. When meted with envy and catty jealousy, you explain it and forgive it and go on to look for the next person you can be there for. As always, you will get no credit for it, for your unnaturally sunny-tempered, unforced kindness.
And you are no angel, no spiritual superior being. You are just a mere mortal like the rest of us. Only, you have more love to give than there are people in this world.
I will stay close and observe with rapt attention. I want to be smart enough to learn a thing or two from your many examples, O golden one!