November 23, 2004

Mood: Friendly
Song: "Friends" by Michael W. Smith

Grateful #2

I am so blessed by the tremendous friendships I've gained during my 24 years. I am not the type of person to be a social butterfly; in fact, I consider myself a kind of social gnat. Even so, God has brought people into my life to sharpen me and make me over into his image.

These individuals, and they should know who they are, deserve my loyal love, which is what I ever strive to give.

They are all different, these friends of mine, and each is incredible. I do not deserve thier friendship, but I have it anyway. Marriage may be how God chose to represent his love for us, and in its self-sacrifice this may or may not be true (I'll let you know after May 28th 🙂 ). Regardless, friendship also has a touch of the divine in it–of all the loves we have, friendship is the most like God's love for us in that it is unnecessary and even superflous at times. We CHOOSE friendships, unlike family members or (sometimes) even mates. Thus, there is something fragile and delicate about friendship relationships, and they can be shattered in an instant with a careless word.

I wrote my thesis on friendship in marriage, and so I must state that I believe friendship can, and in fact should, exist in marriage as well. Here's the classical definition (hinted at in several of my other postings): Amicitia aequalitas est. Amicus alter ipse. There, I think that's all cleared up now :). Okay, okay *sound of arm being twisted*, you talked me into it; Friendship is equality-a friend is a second self. Friends mirror each other, and the closeness of true friendship is severed only in death. I always get a kick out of the strange tale of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (thank you, Mrs. Perl, AP US History teacher). Both men signed the Declaration of Independence, and were, at one time, close companions. Politics divided them, but towards the end of their lives they reestablished their bond. In fact, Adams's last words, spoken on July 4, 1826, 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration, were, "Jefferson still lives". Ironically, in his bed at Monticello, Jefferson was also breathing his last and died on the exact same day.

May I never wait that long to tell my friends how much they mean to me! I hope that every conversation ends in such a way that I would not regret what may be the last words I speak to them.

Friendship also involves transparency, and this is a concept I struggle with daily. How do you remain completely open to another person, especially when you're not sure about what you're really feeling anyway? Honestly, I have no idea, but I intend to strive for honest, open communication.

In the name of honesty, then:

There are some friendships which to me seem fundamentally unhealthy. These friendships err based on a disordered love. We are to love God first; anything else is either a perversion, a deficiency, or an excess of love directed at secondary objects. There-I've just summarized the entirety of Dante's Purgatorio, and you don't even have to journey through Hell first ;). Friendship, just like any other love, can become disordered. I can think of one example in my own life, and one at least in th e life of a friend. The friendship relationship becomes twisted when a friend becomes a god. Yes, I know it sounds wierd, but I have witnessed it. Holding on to friendship long past the point when it can be healthy is devastating; that, too, have I witnessed. It is excruciating, but unless certain friendships are cut off, burned away, and otherwise demolished, they can in no way be restored. Allowed to fully die, they can be resurrected in such a way that they are, while the same friendship, something fantastical ond otherwise impossible. Don't take it from me, read The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis.

So, in the spirit of friendship and gratefulness, let me reiterate that my friends have loved me through some battles, and I can't wait to see what the coming years will bring.


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