Chapter 30: Friendliness Rises Higher than Love
And reap with thanksgiving. It will be very strange to you that friends are one soul in two bodies. There is no question of thanksgiving, it is understood in silence. It is not the ugly “thank you” which is just a formality. And, sow with love. You are going to exploit the friend. How can you sow with love? Your love is a facade, a bribe, a persuasion. Because of your love the friend will become a field for you. But your real interest is sowing the seeds and reaping the crop, and your thanksgiving is empty. If the friend has not given you anything, your thanksgiving will disappear.
Hence I say to you: give, share with love, with no desire in your heart lurking anywhere for return, and the question of thanksgiving then takes a new dimension. You are thankful that the friend received your love, received your songs, received your abundance.
You should be thankful, not because you have received from the friend; you should be thankful that he has not rejected you. He had every right to reject. He was humble and he was understanding. Feel grateful, but for a totally different reason.
And he is your board and your fireside.
What nonsense is he talking about? It hurts me because he is a very sensitive man. And he is your board and your fireside - your friend? You should be a board for your friend and you should be a fireside for your friend. That is the difference between friendship and friendliness. I can forgive the youth who asked the question, but I cannot forgive Kahlil Gibran who is giving the answer.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
Why should one be afraid of a friend? - then what are you going to do with an enemy? So when the friend speaks his mind, don’t be afraid to say no, because he will understand. And, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
What is friendliness? If you cannot expose your heart, naked, in friendliness, then you are a cunning businessman. You think of profit, you think of future, you think of the response. Although you are feeling to say no, you are afraid that the friendship will be destroyed by your no. And he is your need, he is your board, he is your field - are you a cannibal?
It shows the secrets of a cunning mind: Say yes when you know that he will be happy, say no only when you are certain that he will be happy. You are not being honest, straightforward. If you cannot be honest with a friend, with whom are you going to be honest? That’s why I say friendliness is a far greater and higher value. It can say no without any fear, because it knows the friend will understand, and he will be grateful to you that you were not deceiving him.
Friendliness means standing exposed to each other, because you have trust. Friendship is a very poor thing.
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart.