Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead…after that my own rule is to let everything alone. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
As I read this monumental work for the many-eth time, I am once again struck by the skill that is characteristic of Fitzgerald’s words. This timeless quote is indicative of that genius, particularly as we look at the turmoil we witness throughout the world.
The message is compelling: Once a prospective friend or adversary is gone, we no longer have the opportunity to extend the memorable benefits of camaraderie. As I see it, we have two obvious imperatives; one is to eliminate potential conflicts and the other is to befriend as many as possible while time and circumstances allow.
Nowhere is this more visible than in the education setting. Very often I will smile at students walking through the hallways, just to add a positive gesture to their days. The action requires no effort and always reaps rewards, both for sender and receiver.
Within other contexts, maintaining contacts with those close and far away is a far more beneficial investment of time than attending their funerals. As a busy person, I understand the challenges of maintaining friendships. But as a writer, I also know the essence of words and employ only the most positive for those I call friends.
We all have the means to maximize our contributions to friendships before it becomes impossible to do so. My hope is that those who include me in their friend classifications will reciprocate my messages while I am still able to treasure them. Shalom.