“…very few modern people think Friendship a love of comparable value or even love at all.”
“But in Friendship – in that luminous, tranquil, rational world of relationships freely chosen – you got away from all that. This alone, of all the loves, seemed to raise you to the level of gods and angels.”
“One knows nobody so well as one’s “fellow.” Every step of the common journey test his metal; and the tests are tests we fully understand because we are undergoing them ourselves. Hence, as he rings true time after time, our reliance, our respect and our admiration blossom into an Appreciative love of a singularly robust and well-informed kind. If, at the outset, we had attended more to him and less to the thing our Friendship is “about,” we should not have come to know or love him so well.”
Quotes from C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves published in 1960
In this season of grief I have found that I needed to step out of the social media arenas of friends and followers. It would be easy to avoid what it is that I need to go through and just be a social media stocker/voyeur or equally worse continue to be involved where I am, putting on my best online face forward, and not really getting my needs met in the grieving process. I believe that I have chosen the path that leads to healing and that means the ones who are walking through it with me will be few. Different friends have different roles. That means that some will have no role at all in my process. That is not to say, I am not appreciative of their care and concern, I am. However, I am only one person and I don’t think I can handle exposing my heart to many at this point in time. And for someone who does NOT have a problem sharing truthfully in crowds large and small, this feels very strange and very right.
I am immensely grateful for my dear friends who have chosen to be my companions during this time. At times I have failed to express it. Recently, I did and that is what prompted me to sit down and write. (I would be re-missed if I did not mention my greatest friend, my husband Dan who is walking this out with me day in and day out.) Briefly I pay tribute to four of my friends. Each supporting me in ways that bring help and healing as they assist in bearing my load.
This spring my dear friend, Elizabeth and I began walking together 4 to 5 mornings a week at the time of much loss in my life. To have someone literally walking along side me in this journey is an incredible gift. One that I do not want to take for granted. In one of my earlier posts, I wrote: “We were never meant to walk it [the road of life] alone.” This is life-sustaining to me right now. It is not hard for me to imagine being held up in my room. Not taking visitors, phone calls, or texts. (There are some visitors, phone calls, and texts that I just can’t take right now.) Just wanting the world and it’s people to go away. However, one of my reasons for getting out of my bed in the morning to face the day is to lace up my sneakers and head out the door to meet Elizabeth.
In this transient society there is more of a chance of not keeping life-long friends. We have all kinds of ways to stay “connected” in the 21st century but there is nothing quite like human touch, being in each others presence, and sharing a meal together. I am fortunate to have 2 lifelong friends – Patricia and Alberta. This past week we had dinner together. These dear friends, just their very presence, coming together to break bread, their warm embrace in some mysterious way, this love between friends lifted me way up. Going home I felt wide awake and the next morning, the heaviness of heart that I have woken up with the last few weeks was much lighter. In a sense my dear friends were helping to bear my burden.
Then there is Becky, thousands of miles away but “walking” closely with me through this part of my journey by the power of prayer, reaching out to me regularly through calls and texts, knowing that she is just a call or text away. Since our friendship has been primarily long distance – it really is a comfort to hear the sound of her voice. It is hard to put into words the gratitude I have for my dear friend. Becky never meets me alone, we are always in the presence of our most trustworthy friend, Jesus, our Abba Father, the Comforter. Yes, the triune God fills the gap of nearly a continent that separates us and brings us closer to Him and each other.
Tim Keller in his sermon on Friendship talks about the necessity of friends. In talking about the unique necessity of friendship he says, “Every culture will be putting friendship on the backseat…” and (I will paraphrase here) romance takes the front seat and center stage. Our culture is not turned on by friendship. Keller does go on to make the case that indeed friendship is a necessity for having a wise life. I encourage you to take a listen. You will be delighted, challenged and encouraged if you value friendship.
My friends give me courage to press on, put faith in me to stay in the stream of life, but most importantly their love is essential to enduring life’s losses.
Thank you my friends.