This post is the song-story to Heart of a Friend – a continuem on the topic of True Friendship. The lyrics are annotated within the video.
INCIDENT AT THE PARK
I once knew a man who made public statements about his Good Friend So-and-So who happened to be a famous musician, as well as how he hung out with other great friends who were in prominent positions. But when you delved a little deeper into his world, you found that he was stretching it a bit about his friendship with them. In fact, ‘acquaintance’ was a more apt description of their relationship. He did this so often that we began to suspect he had some sort of insecurity disorder. Since it became obvious that none of us were important enough to be his friend, why did he even feel the need to prove his worth (to us) by proclaiming his friendship with celebrity types?
One time back in the mid-90’s, we were all on our way to a park for an event. The above-mentioned man was attending too, but when he saw us as we were walking into the park, he walked right by us without even a nod. We know he saw us because we made eye contact! Apparently he was on a mission that didn’t involve us, but to not even bother to say hello was hurtful and unecessary. It was insulting because we assisted him with his lofty goals during the routine of our daily lives and he had led us to believe we were in relationship with him.
For some reason, this particular event was to become the defining moment in realizing the truth about our relationship with him. We supported his ideas and teachings of community which turned out to be in theory after all was said and done. In reality, we were in his life to help him with his dreams and goals yet there was no forum to even mention our goals because it turned out to be all about him. He had a way of making you feel that nothing was important as what he was doing. His rude behaviour of practically shunning us in public was to become typical of him, especially when we went out of town. We noticed it didn’t just happen to us however, but to all who were subservient to him (the exception being his golden person of the moment, and his family, of course).
Being treated like a stranger in the park by someone I mistook as a friend sparked in me a resolution to define true friendship and dignify what it is not. I could no longer tolerate the name-dropping about his fantasy friends while he overlooked those who treated him with the respect he hadn’t earned, at least in the area of friendship. In contrast, I thought about my true friends and how we treat each other and my appreciation for their friendship soared.
Eventually, I penned this song, Heart of a Friend. When I wrote it, I was compelled to look at myself through the lens of a person unworthy of my friendship. Some of what I saw was true. But in facing what I didn’t have, I could also see what I do have – the ability to be a friend. It occurred to me that the very essence of who I am – a person with a heart of friendship – was being overlooked by someone who only talked about friendship but didn’t know how to be a friend. How ironic.
In the end, I came to realize this man was never worthy of my friendship. I discovered that what I don’t possess may be what contributes to what I do have, which is the heart of a friend who is valuable only to someone else who has the heart of a friend too.