Then a young man surrounded by his brotherhood spoke up: Speak to us about friends and enemies.

The next child responded, saying:

Allow yourself few friends and no enemies.

And what is a friend?

A friend brings you what you didn’t know you needed and tells you what you didn’t know you needed to hear.

A friend keeps distance when your paths diverge and reappears when the two of you begin to long for each other again.

A friend is not like a pet or a baby who always needs attention and comfort. Nor is a friend like a parent or sage who only offers wisdom and guidance.

A friend lives in your heart and you live in his, for you are always at home with each other. He offers his strengths and reveals his wounds, but tests your strengths and nurtures your wounds.

The Creator moves in the heart of your friend and when you look upon his face, the beauty of the Creator’s dance sometimes brings you to tears.

A friend demonstrates his love with every action and your heart aches at such innocent kindness.

A friend will hurt you, but not from malice. He will disappoint you, but not from neglect. Forgiveness will come naturally, so do not resist it.

And what is an enemy?

An enemy is the tree you strike when you lose a game or when your lover leaves you.

An enemy is the mirror you break because you see only ugliness.

An enemy is a rival. In your enemy you see what you lack but want and what you have but do not want.

An enemy is a person who is not a person to you. Your hatred and curses clothe your enemy in a shell of inhumanity so that you can avoid seeing the Creator within. For if you did, your heart would melt into love, even though that selfsame heart may tell you that you must keep distance.

You are surely an enemy to someone else. But that person need not be an enemy to you.

So open your heart to your enemy. Learn to find understanding and forgiveness as readily as you do for your friends. In time, you will see your enemies disappear and sometimes even become friends.

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