No matter how far away one travels, the memory of friends is an inescapable and recurring theme. And while I have enjoyed the acquaintance of people whom we’ve met during our sojourns, they are (with few exceptions) not of the same depth and breadth of those whom I consider more penetrating friends. To be fair to our winter acquaintances, in spite of our repetitive encounters by the pool or sea, there are sustained limitations which naturally embargo the relationships.
As a former lawyer I am accustomed to frequent insights into the affairs of other people. I have however learned that these familiarities do not of themselves ensure a friendship – any more than the intimacy of a physician promises a future friendship. What however is admissible as a strength to a friendship is the combination of personal knowledge with personal experiences by both parties. Naturally it is infrequent that professionals – whether doctors, lawyers or accountants for example – stretch their intimacy to include others (any more than others themselves do). All of which is intended only to illustrate that friendship between any two people is singular and something to be admired and sustained.
Most people whom I know with a degree of closeness have confided that they have won and lost friendships. Normally I only hear of the matter (or myself express the matter) when one is in the throes of mourning the dissolution or evaporation of a friendship. Clearly not all friendships continue unabated. Some momentarily lose their moorings and then regain hold. It is not uncommon to hear what purports to amount to wisdom, the adage that one should hasten to abandon any friendship which causes discomfort, that somehow life is too short to linger upon dissatisfaction. While there is undoubtedly a measure of truth to that objective in certain highly unreasonable circumstances, the majority of friendships are doomed to suffer the occasional turbulent water. I have found however that pretending to assess the productivity of a relationship is dangerous. What is more important to me is the serendipity of the relationship, that unique element which effectively writes the background of the story.
Every friendship has a beginning, usually one of significance and moment. Hidden within that opening are many critical elements which spirited the initial connection and which, upon greater examination and sustenance, typically enlarges the scope of the relationship. It is therefore treacherous to abandon the moorings. There is a risk of losing a great deal more than one’s current dock in life. Often remaining in the harbour is more beneficial than one might gain merely by having rolled upon the open sea.