“Stand by Me” is a song I consider as one of my favorites because the lyrics are so simple but they "stand-out”, and the tempo appeals to my quirky taste of soul, jazz and slow rock - all rolled into one.
I equate the song with precious friends who have been there through thick and thin and whom I could depend on, when all had turned their backs on me. These friends I could count with only a few of my gnarled fingers.
The first best friend I ever had was from high school. We were adversaries at first, having been pitted against each other in several academic contests. We were competing with each other for the top notch honor – valedictorian of the graduating class.
I had never been competitive. My measure of improvement was to compete with myself -If I had performed better in the suceeding event - then I would consider the endeavor a success.
She ended up with the honors.
Relatives urged me to file a formal complaint and to challenge her to an academic showdown, but by then I knew there were more important things in life than fame and prestige - one of them was friendship!
And she was my best friend! ( and still is)
I believed then that being on top of the class entailed integrity and a sterling character and she had both. There was no reason for me not to bow out.
We have had a previous agreement - before the announcement - that we would stay on as best friends whoever would earn the honor; and that the results would not ruin our relationship - and we did!
Up to this day, we still text each other, e-mail every now and then. She had planned to visit me before the start of the year, but things did not push through. She’s still unmarried by the way, guys….he he he...
I usually adjusted well with other people. They were all my friends but I didn’t open up to persons I consider “friends” but in reality are mere acquaintances.
I gained a second best friend in second year college. I didn’t warm up easily, but when I did. I made it a point to stand by my best friend against all odds. Not even a fight between us would stop me from defending her in front of other people.
She was one best friend everyone would like to have- a rare gem that could come once in a lifetime.
College was not easy and there were numerous challenges that have to be hurdled. Since my first best friend was “away” studying in another city. My second best friend was a blessing. Her name is Polly.
There was a time in my college life when I had turned into a “black sheep”. I was relatively young and was easily swayed by negative forces around me. (I guess the Jedi force was not with me then...) I had almost flunked second year because of my absences.
Some so called “friends” convinced me that life should be enjoyed at the moment- and so we went gallivanting around the city –painted it red, and watched all the weekly movies showing in all theaters; we went sight seeing, bowling, visiting places etc, etc…
Polly was just a mere acquaintance then. A “hi”, “hello” “good morning” - dorm mate.
One time though, she cornered me and said: “You know Jen, you have to set your priorities right.”
I looked at her with scorn and replied defiantly, ”It’s none of your business.”
That semester, I got a grade of 76. I have been a half- scholar the previous semester so mother and father were outraged. They learned all about my truancy and how I had squandered their hard earned money on trivial things. They summoned me back home and told me to quit college.
I was devastated. In spite of my delinquency, I had dreams of becoming a professional someday. I cried and wrote to my “friends” to come to my rescue – but no one came. Not even a whiff of concern had reached me when I was so forlorn and in need of consolation.
Only one letter came and it was from Polly – the person, I so ignored.
After a semester of being the homebody, when my parents were certain I had learned my lesson, they sent me back to college.
But they made sure I only had ample money to cover for my basic expenses. I was constantly stretching my allowance to make both ends meet. There were times I had only one dried fish (tuyo) with my fried rice (sinangag) for breakfast.
One dorm mate made a joke (a bad one for me) by sticking the lone "tuyo" into the mound of my fried rice. It stood like a sore thumb and everyone was laughing. I didn’t laugh though, and neither did Polly.
But thinking about it now, that was funny! It must have looked like a flag pole! He he he.
My so called – friends who were with me during my affluent months were nowhere to be seen. I tried to forget what they’ve done and extended my hands in friendship but they didn’t want it. In my time of despondency only Polly had always been there for me.
We would share whatever we had for breakfast, went to school together and studied together. She stood by me through thick and thin and had always provided the warmth and love when I was down and needed someone to cheer me up- even at the risk of being ridiculed. I was no longer the popular student because I was broke.
I was not easy to live with, (I and Polly had reserved the same room) and there were times I was a bad friend – but Polly never counted my infractions.
She wrote my faults/sins on water- easy to be washed out - but etched my good deeds in stone – these she remembered all the time. “You’re good, keep studying.” “You’re not dumb.” "You can do it."
We come across all sorts of people in our lifetimes. Sometimes we call them friends because they’re good to us. But would we stay on if they commit faults? Sometimes, when one small error is committed by our “friends”, this is the thing we tend to remember and forget all the other good things she/he has done.
It‘s like seeing the tiny dot in an expanse of white sheet. We should be aware of this, so we won’t be committing this “sin.”
True friends stay on no matter what.
There are significant lessons I have learned from my best friends:
1.No one is perfect. Accept people as they are.
2.If you want change, you should start first within yourself.
3.Focus on good things done by your friends and not on their “sins”.
4.Be loyal to your friends. Don’t talk behind their backs. True friends don’t do that.
5.Simple acts of kindness and thoughtfulness could strengthen your bond.
6.Actions speak louder than words. Say it and do it too.
7.If you want to have a friend – be a friend.
8.Treasure your friends; they’re one of the few gems in this world that money can’t buy.
In my adult life, aside from my 2 very best friends, I noticed that most of my genuine friends are “males”. Perhaps because male friends are easier to be with and they also treat me nicely because I’m a woman. (wink)
I understand there was also a heartwarming movie made about noble friendships entitled "Stand by Me" but, unluckily, I was not able to watch it.
I leave you with the song’s video and lyrics “Stand by Me.” By Ben King. (I prefer the original version)
Video by Adriancit0
Stand by Me - Ben E. King
When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we'll see
No, I won't be afraid
Oh, I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
So, darling, darling
Stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Stand by me
Stand by me
If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
Or the mountains should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No, I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me
And, darling, darling
(Repeat chorus until fade)
Lyrics courtesy of Romantic lyrics