I have put aside other topics I had wanted to write about and chose this one because last Monday I lost a dear friend in London. While my heart hurts deeply, I am celebrating the fact that I had a friend who brought love. This type of friendship is rare but when we find it, the connection endures all the tests, because it comes from that place of pure goodness and redefines what friendship is.

This friendship was special because it was honest and without expectations. I didn’t have to do anything in order to be acknowledged or appreciated—I just was. Firstly, we could laugh about our flaws, or mistakes, or lapses without guilt or shame. We saw each other from a place of wholeness and exactly where we were in our respective journeys.

At the same time, this friend offered insight into what would improve a situation I was in and could share this without judging me. With such a friend, concern for the other person’s well being often overrides their own place of discomfort, and it is a concern that extends to the entire family. It is like having another pair of eyes, besides God’s, watching over you, and you know that this connection is always there, whether you were in touch or not.

We talked about God sometimes and we both believed in that awesome Source in this universe that resolves our pain and tribulations. We also understood that God’s love for us is so deep and so profound that it makes us emotional. Sometimes we are not able to truly grasp that depth, because we often see love in physical, earthly way. This understanding of who we are in God’s eyes emboldens us to just do what is good, no matter what prevails in our experiences.

One legacy we both learned from our families, especially from our mothers, is the Akan saying that “animguase mfata okanni ba”—debasement does not befit child of the Akan. In other words, a person fit to be called God’s annointed is a person of dignity, one without disgrace, [like the child of the Akan]. With this view on integrity, our aim in this life’s journey is to live in a way that those who knew us and even those who did not know would draw the same conclusion: that we were simply good people. This simplicity is uncommon because society often places emphasis on external accolades and fame and seems to think that these are what earn us more points on our way to heaven. On the contrary. We earn points by being who we are meant to be and performing from the heart.

In my line of work as an empowerment coach and spiritual consultant, I have seen situations where friendships can be abusive, demanding, and often difficult. Sometimes our relationships are based on where we are on our social journeys, and so we choose friends who may be fun to be around in the beginning, have something to offer us, or just because we want to have a large number of people in our social circle. But some of these relationships put control in someone else’s hands, and if their power is not checked, these unbalanced relationships generate discontent, and to the extremes, resentment.

I believe that friends are supposed to be in our lives as a complement to our own state of peace and joy. For a friendship to flourish, in my opinion, there needs to be a mutual trust and belief that a true friend always holds your best interest at heart. If these conditions are not present, it would be advisable to re-examine the benefits of the relationship.

And so I close this conversation with gratitude and celebration to my friend, Ebenezer Coleman aka Nana Tono. Nana, this is for you!

I thank you for being you!

I thank you for your friendship and love just because…

I celebrate you because you were simply a good person, and I know that sends you on a golden beam Home.

Holy be thy resting place!