Saturday, January 12, 2008

friends and Friends

Today my friend Donna commented about "Capital F" friends on one of my Flickr photos. Her comment is there are "friends and there are Friends". I tend to agree, and Donna (and John) are definitely Friends. I am not sure what magic turns friends into Friends. As I compose this "Flickr is having a massage", as the message says when I try to review the pictures, so I cannot quote her directly. I do know the Friends are the ones I always feel comfortable with.

What are some of the aspects of Friends?

I think it has something to do with:
  • How long we have known each other
  • Meeting them in person
  • Seeing each other regularly
  • Sharing growth together
  • Sharing a common view of the world
But there are exceptions to each one of these:
  • I have a number of Friends I went to elementary school with, others I met in College or when I first started work after college; but at the same time I have met some Friends as little as two to four months ago. And I expect each of us has had the experience of spending an afternoon or an evening with someone new and knowing they are definitely a Friend.
  • True, most of my Friends I have met in person, can give them a hug, or watch as they laugh or cry as we talk; but I have at least one friend I have met online on Flickr and have never seen in person.
  • Seeing each other regularly may be, for me, the least common. Patty and I see Donna and John a couple of times a year; some of my closest Friends from elementary or high school I am lucky to see every few years, but they are still Friends. Others I see more regularly.
  • Now, if seeing each other regularly is not as important I am thinking that "sharing growth" together may well be one of the more important aspects. Parenting, going to church, and potography with Donna, dealing with being different in high-school, learning about God, family and Flickr. Yes sharing growth is important. Come to think of it I am not sure I can think of an exception for this one.
  • Nor can I think of an exception for "sharing a common view of the world". We are not all alike by any stretch of the imagination, but it does seem my Friends and I share at least one view of the world similar. Shared views on how important it is to love and care about our children, care about mutual friends, making pictures, or our relationship with hour "Higher Power" are but a few examples of this sharing. I don't mean we all share the same view of who will make the best political leader, or how much money a family should make, or so many of those other "hot button" issues we hear about on the news or learned about in Social Psychology, either.
So, four elements of what makes a capital "F" Friend. I bet I will find exceptions almost as soon as I post this. Do you have exceptions? Great examples? Just a comment? If so please don't hesitate to add it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Jan 3 - Life is not a collection of asceticisms

366 Day 92 - Life is not a collection of asceticisms
Originally uploaded by Seton Droppers

The full text from Benedict's rule for today is:
Seeking workers in a multitude of people, God calls out and says again: "Is there anyone here who yearns for life and desires to see good days (Ps 34:13)? If you hear this and your answer is "I do," God then directs these words to you: If you desire true and eternal life, "keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim (Ps 34: 14-15)." Once you have done this, my "eyes will be upon you and my ears will listen for your prayers; and even before you ask me, I will say" to you: "Here I am (Is 58:9)." What is more delightful than this voice of the Holy One calling to us? See how God's love shows us the way of life. Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see the Holy One "who has called us to the eternal presence (I Thes 2:12)."

The portion of Joan Chittister's reflection I found I was responding to is:
"In Benedict's mind, apparently, the spiritual life is not a collection of asceticisms, it is a way of being in the world that is open to God and open to others. We struggle, of course, with temptations to separate the two. It is so easy to tell ourselves that we overlooked the needs of others because we were attending to the needs of God."
I am called to live this spiritual life not running from responsibility and hiding out by myself but helping others and sharing with those in my community. In my case my community is my family and setting out a meal for my wife, who was running late and feeling cross this evening, is certainly responding to the needs of others.