What is a friend? I will tell you...
It is a person with whom you dare to be yourself!
Your soul can be naked with him
He seems to ask of 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,
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 avow your little vanities and envies
and hates and vicious sparks,
Your meannesses and absurdities and,
in opening them up to him
They are lost,
dissolved on the white ocean of his loyalty
He understands...
You do not have to be careful.
You can abuse him, neglect him, tolerate him.
Best of all, you can keep still with him.
It makes no matter.
He likes you --
He is like fire that purges to the bone
He understands...
You can weep with him, sing with him,
laugh with him, pray with him.
Through it all - and underneath -
he sees, knows and loves you...
A friend? What is a friend?
Just one, I repeat,
with whom you dare to be yourself!

by C. Raymond Beran

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