Rosicrucian Writings Online

Friendship's Invisible Influence

By Colombe Madeleine Lewis
[From The Rosicrucian Digest April 1938]
EMERSON once wrote: "My friends have come to me unsought; God gave them to me."
Though we do not realize it, we are often drawn to someone as a friend because we subconsciously feel the need of acquiring certain definite attributes of his which we ourselves do not at present possess. It may be understanding or tolerance; it may be that his ideals are so high in our conception that we subconsciously aspire to those ideals which we think more inspiring than our own; it may be recognition of certain of his accomplishments and the way in which he has or is accomplishing them; it may be admiration for certain qualities of his personality--reliability, magnetism, industry, sincerity. It may be one thing or it may be many things. It may be a big thing or it may be a little thing.
Later in the association we learn that we have evolved, grown--taken on that quality or those qualities which we hadn't been conscious of searching for--and we wonder where they came from. It is when we look back upon those friendships which used to be, that we discover the source. Yet, at the time we were gaining this inspiration, we not only may not have realized that we were growing in that particular aspect, we may have been totally unaware of that quality we gained.
Oftentimes we hear the expression, "I don't know what he ever saw in her!" Maybe he didn't either--until many years later. A very popular moving picture luminary, a young man, was recently asked by a pertinent magazine reporter which of the numerous young ladies he had for several years alternately escorted to Hollywood social functions he liked the best. The actor's answer, rather than the vague tactful one of surely liking them all equally, was quite unusual in its depth: "I think I could answer that question ten years from now, but now I do not know."
Not that I imply that we should seek only those friends who can contribute to us--far the opposite. Just as vaguely as we realize the essentials which attract us to our friends, do we realize the qualities of our own selves which attract them. Few are sufficiently well integrated to honestly feel that they are perhaps an even balance between the poorer qualities they possess and the finer ones: down deep most people really feel that they have far too many qualities which need improvement--or they egotistically feel that they are everything that is right, admirable, and to be sought. We are indeed as oftentimes unconscious of our own inspiring qualities as we are of those of our friend.
If years from now, or possibly even months from now, one who is presently our friend, or who has been our friend, would tell us what he has learned and gained from his association with us, we might find that we have inspired him so greatly that his whole outlook, his whole mode of living has been changed. The friendship itself, that is, the association, may end, but the benefits derived from it have helped to make us what we are today and what we will be tomorrow. Indeed, God has given us our friends!
Sometimes we will find that the quality or qualities we are subconsciously seeking in our friend are the exact ones which he is seeking in us. Then a bond can be quickly established by uniting in search--and each sharing with the other every tiny bit of help he has received as we go along. The sharing might be done knowingly, then again it might be, as has already been mentioned, wholly unconscious of any effort or understanding by the two. It will be shared, transferred to each other, in any number of ways. Perhaps the two foremost of these are conversation and example.
Have you known the wonderful attunement of spending long hours talking alone with a friend? We open our hearts, our worlds--give the contents to each other's keeping, knowing that forever we will keep each other's trust.
Oftentimes mothers say to their grown daughters, who at fifteen had been very very much in "love" with some Johnny Jones, "Do you remember Johnny? Aren't you glad that you didn't marry him? Do you know now what you ever saw in him?" These daughters, who at fifteen might have been planning to elope with Johnny on his bicycle, might well answer, "Indeed I remember Johnny. And I know now what I saw in him--all of the qualities which I now wouldn't want in the young man I choose to become my husband! I've learned!" Yes, every friendship, no matter how long ago it was or how recent, how long it lasted, or how sadly it ended, has had its value in shaping our lives, determining our futures. We are a composite of all of our friends in the past.
If friendships drift off slowly without apparent cause or reason, and we see them fading away, let us say to ourselves that God had given us to each other in the first place that we might transfer to each other some of the divine spark which is ours to give, and that now we must share that which we gained with new friends.
Sometimes after two close friends have parted and have met again a new spark awakens and they become closer, dearer friends than they had been before. Each has gone his separate way, had new vitalizing experiences, learned new things, advanced, grown, developed, evolved--and each is ready to share again with the other. These are the lasting friendships, the eternal ones--for when each knows of the love and loyalty of the other, when each knows the relationship is strong enough to go unmet and still retain its original essence--ah, that is indeed blessed by God.
But if we two, who have been friends, part, and meet again, finding we have naught but a nod--and inside us a quick recollection of what used-to-be--let us not be sad. Let us thank God that we have had this friendship, and pass on to share a kindlier heart, a deeper understanding, and a more Cosmic beauty and inspiration with the new friends He bids us.

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