Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Some thoughts on Friendship

In The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis writes of the often overlooked variety of love we call friendship, and notes how few “modern people” think this type of companionship is even love at all.

But in our highly computerized lives; the face-to-face, or better yet, the side-by-side human contact of friendship is vital to keep us mentally and spiritually grounded and connected as persons. There is something so important about having a real conversation with someone you can see, that you can reach over and touch, which helps reinforce the fact you are really not alone.

Lewis writes of the start of friendship growing from a moment of companionship, where two or more of the companions share something that “…each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one.’” That moment when you realize a companion shares something you consider valuable, and that you believed was somewhat unique.

This moment is especially poignant when you both realize that you understand the life-reorientation that happens after deep suffering or personal tragedy. Here is another person who does understand not only that life-does-go-on, but that we are forever changed by suffering; and neither of us want to go back there, or stay stagnant where we are now. 

But remember that this chance at friendship would not happen without the agreement to meet for-real, and in-person; you can’t hide your experience behind a computer screen, and you can’t know a person by seeing their profile photo. To see in another’s eyes the comprehension of how life can change, and how you can go on, is only something a longer-lived-life can teach.

That is a real blessing from God that the virtual world cannot supply.

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