- About FinishingWell
- Barry Morrow's Bio
- What Others Are Saying
- Resources And Articles
- Recommended Books
Wednesday, November 7 2007
Friendship Along the Journey of Life...
In his own inimitable way, H. L. Mencken once observed that "friendship is a common belief in the same fallacies, mountebanks, and hobgoblins." It reminded me of a recent article in The Wall Street Journal addressing the issue of friendship among executive men in the corporate world. The article, "Entrepreneurial 'Therapy': Deals, Divorce, Downsizing," told of a once-a-month meeting where eight New York area entrepreneurs cancel all appointments, power down their BlackBerrys and cellphones, and gather for three hours. In their meetings, they unload not only their successes, but even more often, their stresses that cannot even be shared with spouses, friends, or boards: things like a marriage on the rocks, a teenager in trouble with drugs or sex, or their own depression that saps their passion for work.
The protocol for such groups meetings are often strict. Latecomers who are 10 minutes late stuck in traffic costs $100 toward the group's dinner, and regular absenteeism costs one their membership. Only similar experiences can be shared and in return, you have a handful of people you can trust with your deepest thoughts and challenges.
Reading about such "therapeutic" sessions among business entrepreneurs, and my own work with men in the corporate world, reminded me of the tremendous need for genuine friendship among peers in the business sector. A few things also came to light. First, many of the institutions that were for many years the central part of the fabric of American society (churches and civic societies, to name a few) no longer are being utilized by most men in the corporate world. Second, the fast-paced society in which we live mitigates against the very notion of long-lasting and enduring friendships where we can know, and be known. Third, men (and not just women and children) were not made to live life as an "island," but were made for community, to share with others from their own life's experiences and wisdom.
A number of years ago I recall seeing a marvelous sight in Brussels, Belgium. The scene was the Grand Place, built in the 13th century as a merchants market, with its ornate Baroque and Gothic guild houses, clearly one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. And at the end of the day's work, hundreds, maybe thousands of men were gathered together in that magical place along the many terrace cafes, sharing life together before heading home.
The same thing may be happening in our own culture among men, sans the architectural feat of the Grand Place in Brussels, but I wonder: can the American male, with his fierce sense of autonomy and independence, as easily share in life and conversation as his European counterparts? Those of you familiar with golf's Ryder Cup will readily know what I'm referring to.
What I know for sure is that as we make our way through life's journey, and face the difficulties of life, we all want friends who will come to our aid or defense in our time of need. And we know, also, that we tend to reveal our true colors during times of great stress and hardships. This truth was brilliantly portrayed in one of Aesop's Fables, "Two Travelers and a Bear."
"Two Men were traveling in company through a forest, when, all at once, a huge Bear crashed out of the brush near them. One of the Men, thinking of his own safety, climbed a tree. The other, unable to fight the savage beast alone, threw himself on the ground and lay still, as if he were dead. He had heard that a Bear will not touch a dead body."
"It must have been true for the Bear sniffed at the Man's head awhile, and then, seeming to be satisfied that he was dead, walked away. The Man in the tree climbed down."
" 'It looked as if that Bear whispered something in your ear,' he said. 'What did he tell you?' "
" 'He said,' answered the other, 'that it was not at all wise to keep company with a fellow who would desert his friend in a moment of danger.' "
FinishingWell serves under the auspices of
Reflections Ministries, Inc., a non-profit 501©3 organization. If you
benefit from these posts and the ministry of FW, please consider making a financial
contribution for the underwriting of this ministry. You can go to the
"Donate" page on this website for information about contributions that
can be made both by credit card or check. Your contribution is
appreciated, and is tax-deductible.
Post your comments:
FinishingWell is not responsible for the content of these Comments