Who Is A Friend?

A couple of weeks ago, I was on a call with my dear friend, Seema. She was flying out to Hong Kong to see her family. I dare say I must have been more excited than she was!

You see, I grew up in Hong Kong, Seema is from UK. And she has not met my family and friends in Hong Kong.

I wanted to extend my hospitality and connect her with them. And just like that, I did it via WhatsApp. In a matter of moments, we had secured a small group of ladies who were excitedly and warmly welcoming her, extending invitations to meet for dinner, lunch, and coffee.

The lingering thoughts of all of them visiting, sharing global stories, recipes, laughter and more was music to my mind. At once I had an epiphany!

seema-with-friends-hongkong
Seema with friends in Hong Kong.
For a Reason, Season or for Life

The blossoming friendships deserved to be celebrated. So, I decided to write about what had transpired and to share a few thoughts and memories on friendship. Amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy summer, I continued to reflect on the meaning of true friendship.

“There are friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for life.” (Anonymous)  Such is the law of impermanence.

Seema, undoubtedly, is my friend for a reason. The sort of friend, a gift, that we receive of someone sent to watch over us, guide us, connect us, and look after us especially if you have moved to a new country. Even though located in UK and me in Luxembourg, Seema has been instrumental in connecting me with a group of people in the UK, India, and Singapore, that helped expand my relationship network.

For this friendship I shall always be grateful. She has certainly been with me for a season and we both look forward to more seasons to come.

kiran-and-maria-in-london
Tea with Maria in London.
The Beautiful Gift

Friendship is often defined as a constant relationship, free of judgement, full of acceptance, based on trust, kindness, and loyalty, one of the greatest bonds. True friendship is a beautiful gift, one that motivates and grows us. A one-of-a-kind relationship of empathy, perspective, and honesty.

As I set out to build a new community in Luxembourg during uncertain times. My approach was to mentor young persons, particularly in the hospitality field. I knew that sooner or later I would face emotional exhaustion. I could not do this alone; I knew I had to pray for that special friend, one with wisdom who would come alongside me, pour into me and ease my load.

My prayers were answered through Margit, my Luxembourgish friend for the current season, who held me accountable, unearthed my points of stress, and allowed me to talk over countless cups of cappuccinos.

with-friends-margit-and-anne-marie
Thanksgiving Lunch with Margit & Annemarie.
Genuine Friendship

She read me like an open book. Aware of my love for history and art, she took me on guided tours of the palace, both the new and old city of Luxembourg. It is during our first tour of the Grund, in the valley, whilst we were on the bridge overlooking the river, I when  said to her “Margit, this is so picturesque and charming and immersed in history, one day I will write my book here in Luxembourg!”

Is friendship this valuable entity, a product that we seek to satisfy ourselves? Is it a virtue of valor?

Inherently, we want to be able to choose a treasure trove of genuine friends and connections. Friends that come through for us, willing to share and care, quiet our fears, and dry our tears.

shopping-with-friends
Shopping with Primila & Sheena.
“Who Is A Friend?”

I wanted to involve my community and hear their thoughts, so the question I put out there was Who is a Friend? Here are some of the results of my survey:

Michael: “One who accepts you for who you are every day.”

Zack: “Share close affection, values, and beliefs with, one who encourages me to become a better me, pushes me toward success, consistently.”

Pim: “You can pick up where you left off.”

Amit: “An alter ego, one you live through, a desirable extension of your own self.”

Meenu: “Stands by you thru thick and thin.”

George: “Being safe in the presence of.”

Tidi: “Makes you feel and be free.”

N.K.: “Non grumbling, easy going.”

Lisa K: “Stand beside you tell you the honest truth no matter what.”

Bina: “Someone precious, who is there for me and vice versa.”

Angela: “One who is present and uplifts me.”

Seema: “A word used loosely, when we are young everyone is a friend, as we mature, we have many acquaintances but few friends.”

lunch-with-Beth-in-palo-alto
Lunch with Beth in Palo Alto.

Stephen: “Adventurous, Nurturing, Protective.”

Maryam: “Share personal world and feelings with.”

Lisa T: “Laugh and cry together with, extension of immediate family.”

Hansa: “You can bare your soul with, without the fear of judgement.”

Connie: “Someone who is like-minded.”

Kiran Robinson: ‘My friend must have the strength to gently pull me up when I hit rock bottom. A friend who prays with and for me, because there is strength in numbers. “For when two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20. “A friend loves at all times.”’

with-friend-lisa-in-palo-alto
An evening with Lisa.
Special Connections

As I recall friends past and present, some of whom are no longer with us, I cannot but help believe that friends form the essence of our lives. That the inner person is made up of not just experience, but of connections with whom one can share that experience. There is something about that special connection with a friend that makes us better than we can imagine.

Also known as a Confidante, such was my childhood friend Raju, I have many fond memories of our time together, she was my friend for a reason, one of growing and keeping many secrets together. A great influencer, she taught me both Bollywood and Classical Indian dancing, not to mention the art of stage makeup. We were instrumental in organizing many fund raisers together in our community, even though we were only in our teens.

My Buddy, Soni, came into my life during a time of change and in her own bubbly manner, she brought laughter and joy that was healing. We had an easy-going camaraderie, one of connected souls with paths woven intricately. There is power and value in friendship, that can heal a broken heart, and alleviate loneliness. She was my bridesmaid who stood by me.

with-Tiffany-in-London
Catching up with my god-daughter, Tiffany.
Be A Friend

My Bestie, Tina, a woman of many attributes, my prayer warrior, travel companion, a supportive and loyal friend who gave me precious gifts; to plan her wedding, be her bridesmaid and the cherished honor of being a Godmother to her first born, Tiffany.

Friends may come and go, but at the heart of friendship is deciding to be a friend to someone. Whether for a reason, a season or for life – we all need a friend!

Who is a friend to you?

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