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2009-07-25

Will You "Stand By Me" ?

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

(Chorus:)
Stand by me
Oh, stand by me
Oh, stand
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)
Darling, darling
(Repeat chorus until fade)

Lyrics courtesy of Romantic lyrics

22 comments:

jan geronimo said...

Wow, great story of friendships, Jen. And we have similarities, too! It's very hard for me to warm up to a person. In real life, everyone goes through the observation stage. Kumbaga sa work force - casual worker ka lang muna.

Di na naman ako royalty na kailangan may background check pa para maging friends ko. Ito na lang talaga nakagisnan ko.

So I can say there are only a few Pollys in my life, too. A handful.

Kaya nga me inis sa phenomenon ng overseas employment. And daming sumisibol pa lang na great friendship naantala gawa ng pangangailangan mangibang bansa.

Buti na lang naimbento ang blogging. Nawala pagka maarte ko at pagka suplado.

I can't get that mental image of a solitary dried fish sticking out in your plate of rice. :) Powerful story of friendship, Jen. You're both lucky you've each other.

A toast to genuine friendships! Jen, raise your milk shake na noh. Ahehehe. Once more with feeling. Ay mamaya na kaya? Intayin muna natin sina Lo at Roy. :)

Roy said...

I always envy stories about friendship... because I got none to share... in the 'real world' that is.

ako ang sinasabi nilang tao na 'suplado sa personal'

I can make a great acquaintance, and I would listen to every whine... but you'll never hear mine... that's why I blog

I had friends... but they're gone... out of reach... disappeared during the lowest times of my life... until now

Jena Isle said...

Hello Jan,

I'm flattered you like the story.

It's something that I was reluctant to share because I consider it too personal, but I think in blogging, one has to get personal sometimes. It can't be helped.

Great friendships are very few for me.

Could we consider online friendships as true friendships? Could we be certain that when we get to meet our online friend in person, we would like her/him anyhow?

For me, online friendships allow you to see first the person as he/she is inside and that is a more lasting basis of friendship than external traits.

Yes, I'm indeed lucky to have these two friends.

A toast to genuine friendships Jan, Z and Roy!

Jena Isle said...

Hi Roy,

Then you're much more of an introvert than I and Jan.

Kaya pala 16 ang blogs mo? he he he A blog for each complaint/whine? Just kidding.

Sabi nga sa isang version ng kanta :"No matter who you are or what you've become , there will always come a point in your life when you will need someone to stand by you."

Cheers.

Roy said...

yes, you can say that I'm an introvert

and I also acknowledge that 'no man is an island' that's why I try mingle... although, there will always be that invisible wall ;)

Jena Isle said...

Hi Roy,

Each one of us will always have walls. These may be a thin wall or an impenetrable fortress.

I hope that as friends, we will at least welcome each other warmly and with sincerity.

Because true friends are very hard to find. All the best.

Everlito (ever) Villacruz said...

hanep, ayan kasi pasaway,
pero dumadaan din tayo sa ganyan, ang mahalalaga yung importante..he he he.

seryoso,importante kasi ang friendship,sometimes di natin alam kung gaano kalalim yun,marealize nalang natin if and only if,na sa bandang huli andyan siya sa mga kakulangan natin.gaya ng mga pagkakataon nangyari sayo,the fact tinatanggap natin yung mga mali natin, para sa pagbabago.

Jena Isle said...

Hi Ever,

Sabi ko na eh, patatwanin mo na naman ako...

Oo nga, pasaway kasi..he he he..

Tama ka, lahat tayo dumadaan sa ganyan, bahala na tayong matuto sa mga mali natin.

Maraming salamat sa malalim na concepto. Mabuhay ka.

bingkee said...

That's nice....I have lots of best friends and 2 of them --we fell out because they changed.
It takes genuine love to nurture real friendships. Thanks for sharing for the tips you listed here.

coolingstar9 said...

Jena Isle,
This is the inspiring post. You honestly share with us the past about friendship. Like polly, she is the type of person who always support, encourage you when you are in " troble ", she never escape but offers console. This is the good example of true friendship.
I have learnt something from this post, we should be like polly, be the true friend.
Jena Isle, I just received the cute award from the blogging friend, like to give it. please take it if you are free.
Happy blogging and have the nice day.

HotMomma said...

Jena, you are right about friends. I admire you for respecting the decision of your teachers to award your first bestfriend with the top honours. I admire the fact that you know which is better between friends and worldly acclaim.

I also admire Polly for showing you and us all how it is to be a good friend.

My best friend in high school til college tragically died when she was just 36, leaving a one-year old daughter behind. It was hard losing her.

Mary Joycelle Saulog said...

Hi Jen,

Nice story of friendship! I have also my best friend way back in college, though we don't often see each other now since both us got married and has kids. From time to time, we managed to communicate through texting or IM. I missed her na rin.

Puro ata about friendship ang trending topic. Ahehhee.. (started by @houseofpuroy). I'll share my own story narin. hehehe..coming soon.

Missed you on twitter! =)

Jena Isle said...

Hi Bing,

I want what you said:

"It takes genuine love to nurture real friendships."

Indeed that is true, because no one is perfect. All human beings are with defects so we should accept these defects too. They come with the whole package.

Jena Isle said...

Hi Coolingstar,

You're right. Polly showed me what a true friend really is.

I have been so busy these days, but I'll try to pick it up eventually. Thanks.

Jena Isle said...

Hi Mathe,

That's tragic, dying at an early age. But as they say, everything happens for a reason.

Polly has showed me what true friendship is all about.

Jena Isle said...

Hi MJ,

I have missed you too. Been extra busy these past few days.

Friendship is a topic that will always remain a favorite among bloggers because of the sheer beauty and wonder of this relationship.

All the best.

Eric S. said...

I read this when you posted it. Got so caught up in the song, one of my all time favorites also, that I forgot to comment. I think there were actually two movies made due to the theme of this song. I've seen them, and they are truly wonderful.

Having best friend who "Stand by You" and not behind you is always such a valuable commodity. Surprisingly, it seems there are fewer and fewer these days. I however have many I consider "Stand By Me" friends, and am rich for it, not monetarily, but personally.

Jena Isle said...

Wow Eric,

That song is one of my all time favorites too.

True friends are hard to find these days , that's true. That is why when we find one, we should treasure them forever.

I hope you'll be back longer now Eric, we miss you.

reyjr said...

You are very lucky Jena, to have 2 best friends, and to still have them today. Not a lot of people have that. And that I can attest to.

I've had a LOT of friends, being very outgoing and all. I've had several best friends too! But all of them are not around anymore, be it because of distance, of priorities, of any other reason, which to me seems insufficient. Not for lack of trying, on my part at least, but they're all gone now. We are still friends though, with the occasional text or email. But none I can really call my "best friend". (Not counting my girlfriend ha, heh heh!)

You're very lucky! Please please please, treasure your friendship, nurture it, and take care of it. :D

PS. I love that song! I sing it all the time. :D

TrinaMb said...

Powerful opservations and experiences you have offered us on your thoughts/values regarding friendships. So, so true. While a wide variety of acquintances are important to life, the truest friends shine through at the right times. Of course, to have that you must also be that true friend.
Glad to meet you Jena, by way of Jan G. I have surveyed a smattering of your posts, and your warmth, generosity, and honesty shine through.

Jena Isle said...

Hi Rey Jr,

How right you are. I wish you could meet up with your bestfriends again eventually.

Wouldn't it be a blast seeing each other after all these years?

It's good your gf is also your bestfriend. This would make the relationship more meaningful.

All the best. I hope you'll be able to sing for me 'Stand by me" thru you tube. Yehey!!!

Jena Isle said...

Hello Trinamb,

Welcome to my blog. Jan is a very generous person. While I was reading his post I was utterly amazed as who that saint is. lol..

Honestly, I just do what I think is right. There is nothing extraordinary about me. Sometimes I am perceived as selfish sometimes selfless. Jan perceived me positively and thanks for that.

Hope you have enjoyed your stay and hope to see you again .

All the best.