‘As a friend’

Published September 19, 2021, 12:05 AM

by Dr. Jun Ynares


Dr. Jun Ynares

For reasons unknown to non-social media habitués, Baguio had all of a sudden emerged as the unofficial “Friendship Capital of the Philippines.” We were told that Baguio City earned the title after a couple of celebrities decided to take a day trip to what is officially “The Summer Capital of the Philippines.”

We were told that one of them made sure that the public understood that the one-day trip was purely on the basis of “friendship.”

“As a friend,” according to him.

We will not begrudge netizens who have dubbed Baguio with the new “friendship” label.

After all, many special friendships were born and blossomed into romance in the City of Pines.

We will also not fault the celebrities involved in the day trip. We were told that the said trip had some unsavory issues behind it. When we face setbacks and adversities in life, it is recommended that we seek the company of friends.

Many medical practitioners support this view.

For example, the US-based Mayo Clinic says friendships not only enrich one’s life but also “improve your health.” “Good friends are good for your health,” the Mayo Clinic says in an online article. “Friends prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer needed companionship, too,” it added.

Here are the other benefits of being with other people “as a friend” as mentioned in the Mayo Clinic article.

It says “friends can also increase your sense of belonging and purpose; boost your happiness and reduce your stress; improve your self-confidence and self-worth; help you cope with trauma associated with adverse events like divorce, serious illness, job loss or the death of a loved one.”

“Friends also encourage you to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as excessive drinking or lack of exercise,” the Mayo Clinic article added.

Friends also play an important role to people who have embarked on an important mission in life.

Our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was the consummate friendship-builder. He had a good number of friends who journeyed with him in life as he pursued his most ardent dream for his country.

They included the Paterno brothers Pedro, Maximo and Antonio with whom he shared ideas, engaged in lively exchange and heated debates. There was Dr. Ferdinand Blumentritt, an Austrian academician, with whom our national hero had what we would call today a “long-distance friendship.” He must have also been a mentor to the national hero and was credited with having translated Dr. Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere into the German language.

There was the Spanish Governor-General named Emilio Perinat Terrero whose friendship with Dr. Rizal ensured that the latter’s “subversive” novels would not be totally banned in the country. Perhaps, we can say that even our national hero knew the importance of having “friends in high places.” Then, there was the patriot Maximo Viola of Bulacan. Like our national hero, he was a doctor of medicine. They were both involved in the Propaganda Movement and had travelled together in Europe.

Dr. Viola is said to have given Dr. Rizal significant financial help. It was said that Dr. Rizal had suffered severe financial constraints in his bid to publish one of his novels. He felt so desperate about his situation that he almost tore up the manuscript of the Noli Me Tangere. He thought he could never get that historic novel published because he did not have the money to finance its printing.

Dr. Viola is said to have come to his aid and given him the money. Of the national hero, it could be said that he was blessed with those who were truly friends “in need” and who are “friends, indeed.” It appears that individuals who pursue missions that are life-changing attract friends who are loyal and who eventually share their passion and commitment.

That was true for Dr. Rizal.

That was true for the person who walked the earth thousands of years before Dr. Rizal did.

The Man was Jesus Christ.

He attracted a band of loyalists who carried on his mission. Their friendship with Him was so strong that they were willing to die for Him and what He stood for.

The fact is 10 out of the original 12 best friends of Christ died painful, horrible deaths as they preached His good news.

That good news still rings today and remains the most important message we all need to hear.

That good news says God is waiting for us to return to His Love, to be reconciled to Him and to live meaningful lives under His Reign.

The good news is that God loves us so much and wants us to live as his children.

And as His friends.

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