- Andre Lamartin
When Reason Contends with the Reasons of the Heart
What the heart needs and wants may not necessarily be one and the same, as the heart has reasons that reason itself seems to defy. While so many long for the company of others, first learning to live agreeably with oneself seems to be the more appropriate modus vivendi. Of all that can be learned from painful moments of quiet contemplation, valuing the company of others is one of the many lessons of solitude. That a true friend can immeasurably enrich our lives is a time-tested fact, but only if the true meaning of friendship is properly understood. True friendship means placing the interests, feelings, and personal wellbeing of our loved ones ahead of our own whenever life truly calls for it, expecting them to fully reciprocate in kind, should the need ever arise. It is no coincidence that those having greater hope in the future are the ones usually surrounded by true friends. Sometimes believing in heaven depends only on the company we keep.
The Bible itself not only commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves, but to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. It also teaches there is no greater demonstration of love than to lay down your life for your fellow friend. When the many trials of life conspire against us, the bond of friendship binds two people together, even as the most irascible tempests of life vie to tear us apart. It has also been my firm contention that only during the most trying moments of hardship do we finally get to know whom our true friends really are. All of this translates into speaking the truth at all times, offering love and support whenever necessary, sharing all relevant knowledge and wisdom, respecting moments of silence when words are unnecessary, being patient while so many others lack the time, maintaining open mutual lines of communication, valuing the needs of others as our own, displaying sensibility while rebuking or offering advice, showing humility while others offer only arrogance, dealing always with honesty and integrity, sharing both moments of joy and laughter, as well sadness and tears, and remaining present, while so many others leave. These are but a few of the ways in which true friends should treat one another, especially during trying times of enormous need, always having the Gospel as a guiding light to illuminate the darkness.
But words are only as powerful as the ones who write them, as well as those who properly understand them, breathing life into this world by translating them into action. So if plangent words, comprising solitary rhetorical questions, can serve any purpose, how can they ever truly come alive? While drowning in the unabashed negativity, so characteristic of our day and age, cynics would certainly argue that friendship along Christian lines is tragically unrealistic, a preposterous notion entirely devoid of any semblance of rational common sense. Living in a world where man is deemed to be the wolf of man, and where people are freely manipulated for the most varied of reasons, loving your neighbor as yourself carries more caveats than one would care to mention. A world where people customarily lie and cheat, all along using one another for the most disgraceful of purposes, can never speak highly of any form of true friendship. This is an unforgiving world where a friend solely amounts to a personal contact comprising a global network of vested interests, customarily relied upon only for professional advancement, always driven by the most egotistical of reasons. To say that many are the opportunities forsaken when an offer of friendship is untaken would certainly be an understatement. That so many should deride or be offended by true friendship comes as no surprise. Self-congratulatory words said on the way to perdition only irrationally exalt an infernal destination. Pain is sometimes beautiful when traveling down the road leading only towards self-destruction, some may even call it art, especially when mordant sarcasm becomes the spice of life. The more a man becomes adept at lying to himself, the more he will be offended by the truth.
Being at war with yourself only makes living in peace with others a practical impossibility. A life of unrelenting competition, where almost every basic human relationship is almost predatory in nature, hardly provides the most conducive environment for true friendship to flourish. Why so much of our love for the world never sees the light of day is only a sign of how little it is welcomed by those around us. The reason why remaining in contact with old friends has become a practical impossibility should not be solely explained by the great distances involved, as so many have scattered throughout the world. It´s the basic universal rejection of the Christian Gospel that has rendered interpersonal relationships such a trying matter, one so exigently demanding the most urgent attention. As a self-explanatory requirement of the most basic Christian beliefs, crass manipulation should never be welcomed as a sincere display of trust, love, and personal affection. There comes a time when the old wisdom of youth proves to be no longer true. No longer able to tightly hold the ones we once loved, the vicissitudes of life so violently impel them to so tragically slip away. When alleged friends fail to take a sincere interest in our lives, the least we can do is return the favor. Severing all ties then becomes an urgent need when the darkness pervading another´s world suddenly invades our own. The greatest tragedy of losing yourself amid the darkness of someone else's stygian world is never finding your way back. Some men's friendship simply cost more than most can possibly bear. One doesn't literally have to drive only to understand that respect is a two-way street.
Amid a global pandemic where untold millions have already passed away, to believe no good thing ever dies almost requires being born again. The present internecine spiritual war only led me to reconsider how the friendships in my life have mostly all silently withered away with time. After considerable soul-searching, to say the fault was entirely my own would surely betray the whole truth. Alienation never brings any closure in life; it only helps alleviate the pain. If these words remain alive and well, it´s solely because their meaning was never relegated to a long-deceased past. Nostalgia is being drawn towards a welcoming past that still loves me dearly, an amiable time where my beliefs were the sum of my life, where the truth really set me free. But in a world where living alone sometimes means dying by yourself, patience is a skill those imprisoned spend all their time trying to learn. While valiantly setting out in search of deep existential answers, it's sometimes possible to find precisely what we were never really looking for. In the meantime, the true importance of sleep should never be discounted. Only a dreamer ever transforms the world into a personal rendition of his own aspirations. As the true love for a friend becomes a serious liability, not to mention an unconscionable crime, this dying world is on its way to seeing its final newborn light. When reason contends with the reasons of the heart, it’s time old friends should finally depart.