Friends

“I have called you friends.” He told them on the last supper He shared with them. And then He went on to show them how much that friendship meant to Him. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The Greeks speak of three kinds of love: eros, philia and agape. Eros is the love and zest for life. It is caused and driven by the quest and desire for life’s pleasures. It has a tendency to seek and even use others for one’s pleasures, often sexual. It can be a powerful and positive source of energy. Philia is the love of parents and family. It is caused and driven by devotion and gratitude to those who have given us love and life. Agape is what we often experience with friends: uncaused, often unexplainable, always beyond reason. It just is.

I have heard it said that friends are families we chose for ourselves. I’d say let us befriend our families as well. There is something of the divine in friendship because both are without cause nor reason. A friend is someone who sings a melody and I realize it is a song I have been singing all my life. There are people I meet who do or say nothing but yet strike a sympathetic vibration in my heart. Or, even make my heart skip a beat. Many times, my mind sends out thoughts and a friend would catch my meaning and my emotions without the mediation of words.

I thank God for the friends I have in my life. Now that I am past careers and ambition, I relish times spent with friends: from my youth, from my formative years in school, from the years I was carving out a career, from my days of struggling for my ambitions. And I am realizing, with Jonathan Livingston Seagull, that friendship transcends time and space. It is eternal.

“If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we’ve destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don’t you think that we might see each other once or twice?”

Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
~ Psalm 145

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.
Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.
You heard me tell you,
‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’
If you loved me,
you would rejoice that I am going to the Father;
for the Father is greater than I.
And now I have told you this before it happens,
so that when it happens you may believe.
I will no longer speak much with you,
for the ruler of the world is coming.
He has no power over me,
but the world must know that I love the Father
and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.”
John 14:27-31

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