In this life there are few certainties. The sun raising its sleepy head each morning, traversing the sky before slipping back between the sheets at the end of the day taking its warming, life giving rays with it. This watery planets constant stroll around the sun, each traverse taking the exact same length of time to make its circular path. The tides rising and falling, kissing the land with her tender lips. All of these events we can rely on.
Life it seems has an orderly fashion. We are born unto this land that we call home and the only outcome that we can ever predict is that we will eventually shuffle off this mortal coil, our bodies being reclaimed by the very earth in which we once walked tall. Between these two momentous occasions everything else is a matter of chance and fortune. Some of us are blessed with a smooth ride through the complexities of our voyage through life. Others experience severe turbulence navigating the fragile existence that encompasses life.
Friendship is a vital ingredient in our existence. Some will express the view that they can steer through the many pitfalls that they encounter without the need to resort to their reliance on another being. However most find that the company of a fellow traveller greatly enhances their passage through the uncertainties of life.
And there dear friend, the real uncertainties lie. For friendship is one of the life’s biggest ambiguities. You see friendship requires the consent between two souls. This is where the real dance begins. Two personalities, with all their unique shades and tones, must blend to create the perfect partnership. It could be likened to creating the perfect recipe. Too much of one ingredient or not enough of another and the anticipated gastronomic feast turns to ashes on the tongue. Likewise if you try to combine two incompatible elements, each on its own, a wondrous flavour, they will fight on your palate. The individual components jarring on the tongue to produce a concoction noted for its bitterness.
It seems that friendship does not follow any logical pattern. Whilst the laws of physics bind the universe together hence making it easy to predict what will work and what will fail. Friendship has no markers that we can reference. What may work with one pair of humans, may prove disastrous for others. The dance of friendship varies wildly between couples. Keeping the dance going, responding to the needs and nuances of each other throughout a friendship is akin to keeping the fire burning throughout the night. Not responding to a task at the precise moment that it is required can bring a friendship crashing to the ground like a building in an earthquake. A friendship that once looked as though it was built on solid foundations can collapse inwardly in a matter of minutes. The twisted pile of brick, steel and glass providing a memorial to what was once a thriving relationship.
Sometimes that pile of rubble will be difficult to move from the minds of its participants. Rebuilding the superstructure of a relationship is difficult and fraught with danger. It has to be done piece by piece, each party wary of making the same mistakes that led to the collapse. One half may have been so hurt so much by the collapse of the relationship that they’ll shoot down any attempts to clear away the debris.
When relationships crumble sometimes it’s best to walk away from the devastation, find a new life and start again, however it is worth taking a step back and assessing the damage that has been accrued, however painful that experience may be. Communication is the key in helping sustain friendship. Not just the act of talking to each other, but the more important act of listening. Those who listen to their friend, are those whose relationship will flourish and prosper. Sadly not enough of us do this, we’re caught up in our own selves, and failing to pick up the vital signs which if we had heard them and realised what they meant would have stopped the sudden implosion of our world.
Whether a relationship can be rebuilt or not, the most important thing to do is to not become bitter and twisted by what has occurred. Remember the good times, the smile, the laughs and those precious shared moments that you both once shared. The person whom you took as a friend hasn’t changed, they are still that person that you once cared for with all your heart. Take those precious memories and store them away in the corner of your mind with a firm padlock on the door. Then when you are feeling low, open the mental door and remember those treasured shared experiences for they are priceless moments caught in time. Do not store away those bad memories for they will fester and rot the good ones, tainting your senses and curdling your recollections.
When those memories turn sour, a risk of conflict exists between the once peaceful and contented friends. Occasionally it will spiral out of control, wildfire decimating all in its wake, turning former friend against former friend. Escalating at such an extent that the collateral damage taken can destroy whole social communities.
In the next few chapters, I’ll try to relate what happens when a relationship ends and the devastation and destruction it wreaks on a small group of people. We’ll find out what happens when Sinead and Tom, friends since nursery school, fall apart in spectacular fashion.