May 18 – Friendship – Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

“Nothing among human things has such power to keep our gaze fixed ever more intensely upon God than friendship.” Simone Weil

I have been blessed to have deep friends in my time on Earth. They have been an oasis when my life has turned a desert. They have been a cool river to plunge in when my heart has been on fire. When I was ill, one toweled my head when I couldn’t stand without bleeding. Another bowed at my door saying, “I will be whatever you need as long as ¬†you need it.”

Still others have ensured my freedom, and they missed me while I searched for bits of truth that only led me back to them. I have slept in the high lonely wind waiting for God’s word. And while it’s true – no one can live for you – singing from the peak isn’t quite the same as whispering in the centre of a circle that has carried you ashore.

Honest friends are doorways to our souls, and loving friends are the grasses that soften the world. It is no mistake that the German root of the word friendship means “place of high safety.” This safety opens us to God. As Cicero said, “A Friend is a second self.” And as Sant Martin said, “My friends are the beings through whom God loves me.”

There can be no greater or simpler ambition than to be a friend.

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