We Get To Carry Each Other

In the midst of reading Paulo Coelho’s latest novel “Aleph,” right now and the other night I came across a wonderful parable about friendship.  It’s the story of two men…Ali and Aydi.

*         *         *

Ali is desperately in need of money and asks his boss for help.  His boss sets him a challenge: if he can spend all night on the top of a mountain, he will receive a great reward; if he fails, he will have to work for free.  Ali leaves work and immediately feels an icy wind blowing.  He knows that it’s going to be a horribly cold night and he suddenly feels afraid.  He doesn’t know if he has the strength to make it through the night and goes to his good friend Aydi.  He asks him if he thinks that he was mad to make the wager.  Aydi considers and then responds…

“Tomorrow night, when you’re sitting on the top of the mountain, look straight ahead.  I’ll be on the top of the mountain opposite, where I’ll keep a fire burning bright all night for you.  Look at the fire and think of our friendship, and that will keep you warm.  You’ll make it through the night, and afterwards…I’ll ask you for something in return.”

Ali takes his good friend’s advice, climbs the mountain, watches the fire, braves the cold and makes it through the night.  In the morning he returns to his boss and collects his money.  He immediately goes to Ayid’s house.

“You said you wanted some sort of payment in return,” Ali says.

Ayid replies, “Yes, but it isn’t money.  Promise that if ever a cold wind blows through my life, you will light the fire of friendship for me.”

When I read this passage initially, I was greeted within my imagination by the faces of so many friends that at one time or another in my life have been willing to climb that mountain, many of them willing to light the way, and some of them willing to do it more than once or twice.  To be met by so many faces while reading this story tells me that when it comes to friendship…I’m very blessed.  And unfortunately like most great blessings, it often goes taken for granted and left unsaid. If not for a well-timed letter from a great friend today, this would’ve been another one of those unrecognized opportunities.

When I take a hard look at it, many of these posts and in fact much of this blog is pure selfishness.  Here I write stories, messages, or lessons that I think or believe at the time will offer me some valuable advice later on down the road.  Recorded reminders when I’m in need of one. But this one isn’t for me, it’s for my friends…whom no matter the physical distance, I respect, cherish, and admire for their humor, advice, loyalty, quirkiness…but most of all for their spirit.  Life has blessed me with such an amazing group of friends — who each in their own way have reminded that their fire is always there and most importantly, to not let my own die out.  I often believe I’m not the friend I should be in return.  But that’s something I’ve learned about friendship, especially lately, we only remember the times we were carried and not when we were the ones to do the lifting.  That’s the selflessness and unconditional nature of it I suppose. It’s the wonderful piece of true friendship — you can just be yourself — and that’s the only person they want you to be.

I challenge you to think of the friends, your true friends, the ones that would climb that other mountain and light that fire just to remind you that they were there for you and would be no matter what.  Do you have their faces in your mind?  Can you hear their voice and the sound of their laugh?  Then maybe it’d be worth it to copy and paste the story of Ayid and Ali and send it to them.

Everybody gets cold sometimes…

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~ by Dan Fabrizio on October 18, 2011.

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