Patrick C. Keaveny

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Seeing friends, near and far…

A Relationship With God | Life | Musings | Travel

One of the few times I would use the word “blessed” to describe my life would be when it comes to my friends.

I’ve been granted the wonderful opportunity to have many friends throughout my short life. One of the benefits of moving constantly is getting to meet many different people you wouldn’t get to meet otherwise, and at several points in my life, I have concentrated on making and building lasting friendships.

But building “lasting” friendships is a bit of a conundrum. How can you know if friendships will last? What can you say for certain about friendships now that will continue to be true a year from now, five years from now, 10, 20, or 50? How can you test the strength of a friendship through time?

Indeed, the last five years of my life I’ve been asking myself, and others, these very same questions. I’ve met some who refused to carry on friendships after a certain point. I met others who claimed it was important to them to keep their friendships forever. Sometimes, I’ve focused on convincing friends that our friendship will last, even though I myself didn’t know for certain if the great mysteries of the universe would allow it.

This past year, I’ve seen old friends, made new ones, and started to see just how time, that greatest mystery of the universe, affects the bonds of friendships.

It is a sad thing to say, but I am finding that time is a cruel mystery. Friendships that I worked hard on have faded from existence in the past year. Conversations with old friends that used to be lively have shriveled up, leaving a stranger across the table from me.

With time, people forget. They forget the things about themselves that accommodated a particular friendship at one time, but not at present.

They forget the reality of a friendship, holding on to the memory of the good times. Those memories soon become a fantasy written by the hope they have that those memories will occur again when a friendship is rekindled,  only to be disappointed and embarrassed when faced with the harsh nature of reality.

Time, with all of its eternal power, can be the death of a friendship. Nowadays, I wonder if having long-lasting friendships is even possible given that time seems to want to kill them all.

In times like these, when I get disillusioned about whether long-term friendships are even possible, I look towards those wonderful friendships that, somehow, stood the wrath of time.

Time is the true test of friendship. Those friends that I see who, even after years of distance, we can talk and laugh together again. Those friends who you truly know and they truly know you are the ones to concentrate on when the others have faded into time.

It is those friendships, the ones that defy all odds, the ones that stand the test of time, that are worth hanging on to. They are the ones that brighten life in the darkest, and darkness, of time.


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