Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How Do You Be a Friend?

“I don’t know why we get together; you talk and get excited about something and just go on …,” said my friend.
And so I went quiet.  I should have done so much earlier.
We had gotten together for dinner on the memorial date of a sad memory.  I went to her house with the idea in mind to celebrate the occasion as appropriate, but to not let the conversation --- and feelings --- focus on the sadness.  And when it came round to “how my week had gone,” I went on about the many blessings I had perceived --- the many, many blessings, in recent days.
Perhaps it was the enthusiastic joy I felt, or perhaps that she couldn’t get a word in edge-wise, but at length she voiced her frustration.  I don’t know that I have another friend who’d tell me --- in one way or another --- to shut up, and I appreciate that about this special one.
The rest of the evening was pleasant; we always enjoy each others’ company --- usually, but at home
later, and in the chapel now, I reflected on the question:  “How do you be a friend?”
Thinking on how the conversation went that night I wondered if I should have been silent on God’s goodness to me.  Are those thoughts meant for my spiritual director’s ears only – if that?  How much do you expound on how good your week has been --- not knowing how bad it might have been for your friend?  When is filling a void in the quiet being verbose?  When, in YOUR loneliness, is meeting with a friend only an opportunity for you to expound your self-importance?
When does a friend shut up, even into the silence?  WWJD?
I’m not sure I know the answers to my questions.  Reflecting, I DO KNOW that one thing missing from the visit to my friend was God:  I failed to pray for His blessing and presence --- invite Him with --- before my visit.  A prayer before dinner was just not good enough.  Perhaps in addition to a deliberate focus on God beforehand, there should have been a deliberate focus on the visit, beforehand, and some thought on things which should come up in the conversations, thoughts about what has happened in HER life since we last met.
God has been and is blessing me greatly these days.  Friends --- and even strangers --- seem blessed all around me, and I am aware of their blessings.  Perhaps it is good enough that God and I, alone, know these things; perhaps they are meant for OUR conversations, at Eucharist or in Adoration.
Perhaps some things are not meant to be shared.
I don’t feel I have answers to my concerns, but I shall try to be more concerned about them, when I next meet with a friend.
I sit in the adoration chapel with God in front of me.  He is a great friend Whose presence I greatly value.
And He says not a word.  Perhaps I need to be more like Him, in this manner also.
Just being there, and listening, that’s what friends are there for too.

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