Monday, 13 April 2020

Thought Picnic: Reflections of how an old friendship used to be


In the passage
A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a group exercise of self-awareness and the development of understanding purpose. This was something I would normally not be persuaded to do, but it was interesting enough to get stuck in.
Some of the exercises brought perspectives and enlightenment to areas of relationships I have cultivated, those that have turned sour and the rest that have lapsed out of the passage of time, the passage of souls, the passage of proximity, or the passage of situation.
The seeds of travel
In reflecting on one aspect, I have someone who would have been one of my oldest friends, we met in a pub, near Bayswater, in November 1991. Something about him in the look, in the appearance, and in the conversation just made him quite attractive. The encounter led to a night back at my place.
Over the years, a friendship that did not result in a relationship developed, he moved around in London and I moved out to Ipswich, his infectious curiosity helping me explore places I would never have been interested in. Then he returned home to Germany and eventually settled in Berlin. It was at his prompting that I first visited Berlin and then began to see the usefulness of travel. I caught a sense of adventure that became a European tour from London to Budapest return, including 10 cities.
Drink to the brink
That friendship soured about 7 years ago when twice in an inebriated state, things were said by him just unforgivable. I decided it was best to cease entertaining the idea of friendship as what is said under the influence is the expression of things that sobriety will constrain. Many attempts by friends to reconcile us, I have rebuffed.
Yet, I hold no grudge, it was just a case that the relationship had become unhealthy, at least for me, if not for him. It is probably not helped by the fact that I hardly drink, I am mostly sober, and I hope I have better control of my tongue, no matter the thoughts going on in my head.
For a better man
So, today, I was asked to reflect on how I might have been hurt in the past, this, of all the other issues I could have brought to the fore is the one that jumped out. This is where the power of thought and meditation begins to change perspectives.
For all the presumed failings of my old friend, there is a lot he has contributed to enrich my life, in exciting my curiosity for travel and exploration and in allowing his vulnerabilities at certain times to reveal some of my shortcomings when I think I am in a better place.
Our friendship has become a different kind of mirror, not so much of him, but now of how I need to make accommodations to acknowledge a broader good over a momentary lapse that could change the trajectory of a relationship when reviewed on the whole is more substantial than the immediate. It is a growth process and I am open to learning to be a better man.

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