“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
When people refer to their friends today, they may likely be speaking of contacts, people in their networking circle or Facebook – it seems the definition of “friend” has taken on slightly different meaning than in the not too distant past (I am not judging this, well not too much). I wonder if maybe because so much of the world we experience is virtual – TV, internet, texting, Facebook, Instagram, smartphones, you fill in your favorite device/app - if in some ways we forget what it means to actually be present to another – to be present to ourselves even.
People who know me well know I get a little cranky and at times almost despondent about how technology has crept into so many aspects of our lives; how we have to be plugged in at all times; how anxious we get if we might miss an email, text or a call – and it is not because I am of a certain age and unfamiliar with all this new-fangled stuff, in fact I paid for seminary (class of 2009) with money I made in the IT field – I just wonder if we are losing some ability to just be with one another without some sort of screen mediating our interaction. Just wondering…
In the meantime, I offer this prayer written by John O’Donohue – this is the blessing of friendship I hope you experience:
May you be blessed with good friend, and learn to be a good friend to yourself, journeying to that place in your soul where there is love, warmth, and feeling. May this change you.
May it transfigure what is negative, distant, or cold within your heart.
May you be brought into real passion, kindness, and belonging.
May you treasure your friends. May you be good to them, be there for them and receive all the challenges, truth, and light you need.
May you never be isolated but know the embrace of your anam cara.*
*In the Celtic tradition, and anam cara is a is a sort of deep, soul-friend with whom you are able to share your innermost self to reveal the hidden intimacies of your life, your mind and your heart. Blessings!