personal reflections on friendship

One reason that I think friendship is so enjoyable is that it allows us to appreciate qualities in others that we do not ourselves possess. God has made each person unique – indeed, unrepeatable – and friendship gives us a chance to recognize the gifts of others. It can liberate us from some of the narrowness of our own point-of-view. While we possess certain qualities in common with our friends, I think that much of the pleasure we receive from friendship arises from the uniqueness we discover in others.

As a final comment, I would agree that ideal friendship is singular in nature. I think it describes the relationship we can share with God. We can have strong and vital friendships with others to the extent that we have this primary friendship with God, a relationship that, with His aid and our cooperation, will reach its fullness in the life to come. His love becomes the source and stimulus of our love not only for Him, but for others. Our friendships in this world can help prepare us for the self-giving love of beatitude, in which our union with God and our communion with others will finally be experienced as a single movement of love, as the gift of friendship fully realized and shared, corresponding completely to the desire and design of the human heart.

2 thoughts on “personal reflections on friendship

  1. This last personal set of reflections drills down to the core of how friendships begin, develop, change and even die. For example, the talents and virtues of others are often what attract us to them in the first place, whether we share those particular virtues and talents or not. However, I’ve often noticed that I can befriend someone at first in search of a sense of “reflected glory,” i.e., I am weak in a particular talent or virtue, this other person overflows with that virtue, and by virtue of our budding friendship, perhaps I will either reflect a bit of his virtuousness to others, or I will acquire some of it, as if osmosis worked this way in friendship.

    As we deepen those initial friendships, we begin to find our appreciation and esteem for that friend’s virtues growing and becoming less self-centered, i.e., I appreciate that God has endowed this friend with such virtue or talent that he can then turn around and share it with others in order to bring them closer to Christ. The appreciation of the virtue of the other becomes less about how it will make me feel or look and more grateful to God for blessing the friend in that way.

    Finally, it seems that some friendships may come to an end due to changes in each friend’s spiritual and psychological development/advancement over time, much like your writers here have mentioned. I know many people who grow apart due to focusing on their differences instead of appreciating them and being thankful for the uniqueness of that particular friendship.

    Thanks for re-posting these pieces you had previously posted, Clayton!

    • Thanks, Kevin, for adding some further reflections here. I especially like your tie-in to the theme of glory, and the sense of the way friendships can mature or atrophy based on the choices of the people involved.

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