Posted by Lydia Avia-Aumua
on 22 July 2021
Growing up, my first ever friend was my older brother who is four years older than me. From my earliest memories, it was evident to me that in those four years he had learnt everything there was to know about the world and I was his willing apprentice.
One particular adventure I will always remember as a child - was a trip to the airport. My brother had told me about an epic playground that oversaw the runway as planes took off. However, upon arrival at the airport I was immediately disappointed. As a child, I had an irrational fear of escalators and needed the help of an adult to guide me onto the first step. There, between our happiness and where we physically stood - was an escalator. My brother came up with a 'great idea', why not hold onto the handrail from the outside and ride the escalator to the top? And just as quickly as the idea came we were at the bottom of an escalator and holding onto the handrail with joy as we moved closer to the playground.
In the space of 30 seconds I had gone on a roller coaster of disappointment to joy then to immense fear as I turned around to see my brother had let go of the railing and I was alone. It was in that moment as I let go of the handrail and fell to my first ever nose bleed, that my brother earned the nickname 'Judas Iscariot'.
The scriptures have many beautiful accounts of friendship to ponder as we draw closer to International Friendship Day on 30 July. There are also accounts of friendship that mirror my first ever experience of friendship with my brother. Whatever our experiences are with friendships current or in need of repair, we can all benefit from looking at the examples of St. Philip Neri: Patron Saint of Friendship. With a life that started out in a similar fashion to our founder, St Philip was born into a noble family. However, just like De La Salle, St. Philip responded to a higher calling to serve God in a unique way.
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