We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship. – C.S. Lewis
My oldest friend called me on my birthday a few months ago. Here is how he greeted me, “Hey, what are you doing?” I am blown away that I knew who it was when he said “Hey.”
When I heard his voice, I was filled with joy and delight. His voice brought back waves of wonderful coming-of-age memories. Memories of fort-building, cowboy and Indian wars, climbing mountains and a rock formation called “Split Rock,” basketball victories, and Junior High prayer meetings.
I don’t know if we will ever fulfill the vow we made at age thirteen to take our future wives to the grassy ledge on the upper part of Split Rock. I don’t think we could make the climb. We are both grandparents now. Don’t know if we will ever go back to the caves, we found on a mountain we called “Old Baldy” with the bats hanging upside down. We even named the caves: TAP and JOC. (Those are our initials: Timothy Allen Peggram and Joseph Oren Chambers.) I always liked his initials better. Sounded cool, “TAP.” Saying mine out loud made me blush at age twelve, “JOC.”
Here is the truth: Tim’s voice is carved deeply into my memory. I may not hear that voice very often, but it is so important to me that there is instant recognition, immediate affection and joy.
Knowing a friend over time arouses deep affection.
The older I get the more important two things have become: Old friends and poetry. Here is a selection from John O’Donohue that I like a lot:
A Friendship Blessing
May you be blessed with good friends.
May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.
May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where
there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.
May this change you.
May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you.
May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and affinity of belonging.
May you treasure your friends.
May you be good to them and may you be there for them;
may they bring you all the blessing, challenges, truth,
and light that you need for your journey.
May you never be isolated.
May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam ċara.
Here’s hoping you find a friend that blesses you like my old friend blesses me.