It was the first day of orientation of my freshman year of college when out of the blue a fellow student stated, “You know, I’m trying to figure out what kind of friend you’re going to be.” I was completely perplexed by this comment. And before I could ask for clarification, or more likely make a sarcastic response, she continued, “You know, some friends are for a season, some for a reason and others for a lifetime.” As a person who was born, raised and knew everybody in the same small town, on one level or another, everyone was your friend. What she was suggesting was a foreign concept.
In the years that have followed I have learned a lot about friendship. And in many respects my freshman classmate was correct. I have had friendships that had a shelf life: “season.” I have had friendships that centered on a certain common interest or experience: “reason.” And I have been blessed to have friendships that have been going on since childhood, others for decades: “lifetime.”
Theologian Richard Rohr suggests this about friendship, “From a human perspective, true friendship is never about calculation and manipulation and looking for favor or advantage. Friendship is especially precious because partners seek the well-being of the other. Friends are content simply to be together, to share burdens and to share joys, to share thoughts and hopes and stories about daily living.”
This past weekend I gathered with a large group of people to celebrate the life of one of my longest and deepest friends. The blessings of this friendship for me was the manifestation of Rohr’s words, “partners seek the well-being of the other.” Supporting, encouraging, even pushing each other to BE WELL – mind, body and soul was the core of our friendship. And in my experience, relationships centered on supporting the wellness of the other are the ones that are the most sustainable and fulfilling.
May love and laughter
Light your days
And warm your heart and home;
May good and faithful friends be yours
Wherever you may roam;
May peace and plenty bless your world
With joy that long endures;
May all life’s passing seasons
Bring the best to you and yours!
~ Traditional Irish Blessing