Monday, March 24, 2008

A Message from the Archives

This morning I was fishing for some information in the Perry Swisher collection housed in the ISU Archive and Department of Special Collections, when I ran across this gem:

What Is a Friend?

I will tell you. He is a person with whom you dare to be yourself. Your soul can go naked with him. He seems to ask you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. He does not want you to be better or worse. When you are with him you feel as a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, express what you feel. He is shocked at nothing, so long as it is genuinely you. He understands those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With him you breathe freely. You can take off your coat and loosen your collar. You can avow your little vanities and envies, hates and vicious sparks, your meanness and absurdities, and in opening them up to him they are lost, dissolved in the white ocean of his loyalty. He understands. You do not have to be careful. You can abuse him, neglect him, berate him. Best of all, you can keep still with him; it doesn't matter. He likes you. He is like fire, that purifies all you do. Through and underneath it all he sees, knows, and loves--you.

A friend, I repeat, is one with whom you dare to be yourself.

From the Friendship Room of the new Adams & Smith law offices. Compliments of Frances and Nancy Oldham, future associate members.

I found it particularly fitting today given yesterday was a day of friends, both new and old, and today is the birthday of one of my closest and dearest friends.

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