I suppose most of us start the NY with a hangover and a little bit of eager anticipation for what is ahead. Many are pleased to see the back of the previous year. For me 2017 seemed to be a year full of suffering – good friends with life threatening illnesses, or friends who have family members with life threatening illnesses. It reiterated my belief that good health for everyone you love is the best New Year’s wish that you can have. You can’t swipe away bad health with the dawning of the New Year, though I wish you could. Without good health you can lose the hope for a long and happy future and without hope you have nothing.
I am not going to share all of my New Year resolutions except for one: that I am going to make 2018 the year of the friend. Being a good friend is hard work – it takes time, patience, tolerance but is so rewarding if done well. This does not mean that this resolution excludes family as my family are amongst some of my best friends. Amongst my extended family I have a sister-in-law who, together with her own sister, have become two of my closest friends and I regard them as my sisters.
With my good friends I love each and every one for their differences. I would not want them to all be the same as that would be so dull. There is a wonderful story that I have always enjoyed which originates from either China or India about Two Pots and it sums up friendship so well:
A waterbearer in China had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole, which she carried across her neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it. While the other pot was perfect, and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the mistress’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to her master’s house.
The perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.
After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream: “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologise to you.”
Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your mistress’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.
The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in her compassion she said, “As we return to the mistress’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”
Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.
But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologised to the bearer for its failure.
The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?
“That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them.
“For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my mistress’s table. Without you being just the way you are, she would not have this beauty to grace her house.”
Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all cracked pots. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. We’ve just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them.
I have just been with my family and some good friends to see the film, ‘The Greatest Showman’ and contrary to all the terrible critic reviews, (53% on Rotten Tomatoes), we all, as did most of the viewing public (90% on Rotten Tomatoes), loved it. It is uplifting, every song is a winner and the choreography is brilliant. At the end a quote from P. T. Barnum came up on screen which says it all, in my opinion…..
“The noblest art is that of making others happy”
So I am not going to start the new year expecting too much from my good friends as their lives are different to my own and they may have more urgent concerns that means they cannot be a close friend all of the time. However I am going to agree with Phineas Barnum and also live by one of my favourite expressions which I have told to my children many times –
‘You get out of life what you put into it’.
So I am going to put my best into it and see what I get out of it by the end of 2018.
Another view on good friends from BackPacking Granny –