Friendship, Part I

October 3, 2009

I’ve been pondering lately about the value of friendship: What defines it, what makes it different from other, shallower relationships.

In this part, I’ll address some of the spiritual aspects of friendship.

There are a few passages in the Bible that illustrate friendship. The example that most stands out to me is David and Jonathan in 1 and 2 Samuel. Other references to and maxims about friendship can be found in the Writings (e.g., Proverbs, Psalms).

This July, while I was in the Netherlands, I read several passages in Proverbs and composed a poem based on them. It expresses well the feelings I have toward my friends.

A Faithful Friend

Thy reproach, O friend, is faithful.
What have I to do with the flattery of mine enemies?
They are as naught to me.

The gifts thou hast given me
Endear thy soul to me
And arouse my deepest gratitude.

Though calamity rage and my brother be far,
Thou dost stand close; thou lendest thy strength
To succor me.

What is thy counsel but sweetness to me
That rejoiceth my heart
And sharpeneth my countenance?

Thy counsel, thy strength, thy gifts—
My heart doth soar in thanksgiving to my Maker
For His gift—a faithful friend.

Based on Proverbs 19:6; 27:6, 9, 10, and 17

The counsel, advice, even rebuke of my friends is always done in love. Because I feel that love and know that their intention is to help me become a better person, I accept it gladly. My friends have given me gifts of many types. Most often it was simply spending time with me or giving of themselves in some simple way to help me. They have stood by me in the good times and in the hard times.

Indeed, supportive friends have helped me become the person I am today. They have helped me develop spiritually in the way that was best for me. It has been especially rewarding to reunite with them after we’ve been separated for two years all over the world.

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Rediscovered wisdom

July 18, 2007

So last night I managed to revive my 19-month-old Palm Tungsten E2, which I haven’t used for several months. I found quite a lot of good quotes and poems on it and thought I would post them here.

General quotes

Far and away the best prize life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. —Theodore Roosevelt

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. —Henry Brooks Adams

When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the lift of another. —Hellen Keller

When the time for decision arrives, the time for preparation is past. —Thomas S. Monson

Wise time management is really the wise management of ourselves. —Spencer W. Kimball

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. —Aesop

UPDATE: Here’s another one:
Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value. —Albert Einstein

Poems

My AP English teacher liked this poem and quoted it to us a lot:

Lad of Athens,
Faithful be
To thyself,
And Mystery–
All the rest
Is Perjury

Emily Dickinson

He also like this one. It is a sad but true tale of life:

With rue my heart is laden
For golden friends I had,
For many a rose-lipt maiden
And many a lightfood lad.

By brooks to broad for leaping
The lightfoot boys are laid;
The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
In fields where roses fade.

A. E. Housman

This sonnet is very well-written. I memorized it for AP English once, and I really enjoy it. The final couplet is my favorite part, as it is applicable to so many relationships we have:

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon these boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare, ruined choirs where late the sweet bird sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire,
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie
As the deathbed whereon it must expire,
Consumed with that which it was nourished by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

William Shakespeare (Sonnet 73)

This one is a provocative exposition on the constancy of change:

Mark! how all things swerve
From their known course, or vanish like a dream;
Another language spreads from coast to coast;
Only perchance some melancholy Stream
And some indignant Hills old names preserve,
When laws, and creeds, and people all are lost!

William Wordsworth

Well, those are a few quotes and poems I like that I recently rediscovered. What do you think of them? Have you heard any of them before?


The Road Not Taken

May 9, 2007

I first heard Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” many years ago and have drawn inspiration from it ever since.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
–Robert Frost

Another poem I like teaches about perseverance. It was quoted by both Russell M. Nelson and Thomas S. Monson in general conference addresses:

Stick to Your Task

Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
Beginners are many, but enders are few.
Honor, power, place, and praise
Will always come to the one who stays.
Stick to your task till it sticks to you;
Bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it too;
For out of the bend and the sweat and the smile
Will come life’s victories, after awhile.
–Anonymous