Teenage and youthfulness are incomplete without friends. Their absence makes us realize their worth in our lives.
It is said, “A friend in need is friend in deed,” and it is absolutely true. However, we don’t just make friends to test them in the difficult situations of life; on the contrary we make friends to share our lives with them. Friendship is a genuine band that unites us in the bond of true relationship. It so happens that some remain friends forever, while for some others this friend and his/her friendship turns into love.
As we step on the entrance of adulthood we feel the need of a companion, friend and life partner. It is like with this person whom we know so closely we want to share and spend the rest of life. This love relationship is guided by friendship. If there is a good friendship between lovers, or husband and wife, that marriage would be a wonderful journey. Those who love their partner feel happiness and joy whereas those who find it difficult to cope up with their partner feel sad and suffer in their marital life.
True friendship is necessary for the progress of a person. It enables one to share one’s feelings and emotions. It works as a balm and gives relief if we express our sorrows, fears and problems with our friends. One can also get peace of mind by sharing mental strain to one’s friend. The mind becomes purified and ideas take better shape in dialogue with friends. It is said, ‘A man becomes surer of himself by speaking his thoughts to his friends. The joy is doubled and grief is halved in the company of friends.’
I feel that friends increase the joys and decrease the pains. Friendship is useful for the emotional wellbeing of a happy life. An understanding life partner full of love is a dearest friend with whom life tastes so sweet. We must value and cherish our friends and those precious moments spent together. It’s time to remember our friend, our ‘Valentine’ (special one).
A story Forgotten
‘Valentine’s Day’ is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending cards, exchanging gifts, flowers or being together etc. There are varying opinions as to the origin of this day. Some say that it originated from Saint Valentine, a Roman who was martyred for refusing to give up Christianity. He is said to have died on February 14, 269 A.D.
Legend also says that St. Valentine served as a priest at the temple during the reign of Emperor Claudius, who had jailed Valentine for defying him. Claudius wanted to have a big army. He expected young men to volunteer to join it. Many young men just did not want to fight in wars. They did not want to leave their wives and families. So, not many men signed up. This made Claudius furious. He had a crazy idea. He thought that if men were not married, they would not mind joining the army. So, Claudius ordered not to allow any more marriages. Young people thought his new law was cruel. Valentine thought it was preposterous! He certainly didn’t support that law.
One of Valentine’s favourite activities was to marry couples. Even after Emperor Claudius passed his law, he kept on performing marriage ceremonies – secretly, of course. It was really quite exciting. Imagine a small candlelit room with only the bride and groom and the priest (Valentine). He would whisper the words of the ceremony, listening all the while for the steps of soldiers. One night, he did hear footsteps. It was scary! The couple he was marrying escaped in time, but he was caught, thrown in jail and his punishment was death! He tried to stay cheerful. But wonderful things happened. Many young people came to the jail to visit him. They threw flowers and notes up to his window. They wanted him to know that they believed in love.
One of these young people was the daughter of the prison guard. Her father allowed her to visit Valentine in the cell. Sometimes they would sit and talk for hours. She helped him to keep his spirits up. She agreed that he did the right thing by ignoring the Emperor and going ahead with the secret marriages. On the day he was to die, he left his friend a little note thanking her for her friendship and loyalty. He signed it, “Love from your Valentine.” In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honour Valentine. Gradually, 14th February became the date for exchanging love messages and St. Valentine became the patron saint of lovers.
Thereafter friends and lovers started the custom of exchanging love messages on Valentine’s Day. Nowadays, people remember him every year on this day; they think most importantly about love and friendship. And when they think of Emperor Claudius, they remember how he tried to stand in the way of love, and they laugh at it because they know that love can’t be killed! It’s alive in the hearts of every one.
A Paradigm Shift
Today ‘love’ has taken another dimension, that is, self-satisfaction instead of self-sacrifice. When we talk of love today, sometimes it is temporary or shallow; but earlier it used to be permanent or deep. It is not an external show, but an internal meeting point of two hearts. We can’t say that in love only the beginnings are delightful; the endings are also delightful.
John Powell, in his book, The Secret of Staying in Love, says, “The I of one is in constant search of the Thou of another and the We of a love relationship.” He presents the following requisites for a better love relationship: 1) Love is not a feeling; 2) Love is a decision and a commitment; 3) Love is abstract yet very concrete; 4) Effective love is unconditional; 5) Love is forever; 6) The commitment of love involves decision; 7) The essential gift of love is a sense of personal worth; 8) Love means the affirmation, not the possession of the one loved.
The truly happy people are those who have found someone to love. In love is the real meaning and fulfillment of life. It’s the realization of the rejuvenating power of love towards one’s parents, elders, siblings, children, friends, neighbours, humanity and God.