Posted by Ronan Scully in Features.

January is known as the month of friendship and honouring those true friends. Friendship is like manna from heaven—it is essential to our humanity and we could not live without it. Ever since time began, we have been offering the hand of friendship to one another. However, many in today’s world seem to think we can survive without ever talking to another human being.

Through a magical combination of similarities and differences, friends offer us the opportunity to know ourselves and help us grow into who we want to be. Our similarities attract us to each other, comforting us with familiarity when we see ourselves in them. By acting as mirrors, friends help us define who we are by reflecting ourselves back to us. Differences allow us to see other options and make choices about who we want to be. Sometimes we are drawn to those who appear to be our opposites and we learn to accept the parts of them we love and the parts of them that don’t resonate with us, allowing us a valuable learning experience.

Part of the joy of friendship is the feeling that we are accepted just the way we are, with no need to change. It is a gift they give us, and one we can give back. Ultimately, we choose friends because they make us feel good about ourselves. Through tears and difficulties, friends help us find the laughter.

When we find those special people who offer us that perfect combination of comfort and stimulus to grow, we are very fortunate. To be a friend means that you are willing to give of yourself not only through the good times, but also during the bad times.

There is an old Ethiopian proverb that says this so well: “A wise man remembers his friends at alltimes; a fool, only when he has need of them.” To be a friend means to encourage strengths in others while accepting their weaknesses; in other words, accepting them for who they area. A true friend is somebody who can make us do what we can. In the end, to be a true friend means giving freely and not expecting anything in return. A true friend feels yours fears but fortifies your faith; sees your anxieties, but frees your spirit; recognises your disabilities but emphasises your possibilities.

A Friendship Prayer

A song that I listen to regularly is My Forever Friend by Charlie Landsborough and it reminds me to always pray and be thankful for the gift of friendship. Here is my friendship prayer for you.

“I pray that each of you who read this article each week will have or find a special forever friend; someone who changes your life just by being part of it. Someone who can make you laugh until you can’t stop; someone who can make you believe that there really is good in the world. Someone that, when you’re down and the world seems dark and empty, will lift you up in spirit and make that dark and empty world suddenly seem bright and full. Someone who will help you through the hard times, the sad times, and the confused times. I pray that you will find a forever friend. A forever friend that will hold your hand and tell you that everything is going to be okay. I hope that all of you who already have found such a friend feels happy and complete because you need not worry. You have found a forever friend for life and forever has no end. Cherish them always.”

Thought for the week

As your thought for the week, always remember one who walks in when the whole world has walked away. Be thankful and cherish those true friends that are part of your life and understand that we all need help and support now and then.