C.S. Lewis on friendship

A recent post about books I’ve enjoyed sent me down a course to reclaim time for reading. I ran across this quotation from Lewis which was taken out of context, so I dug around to find it. It’s from The Four Loves, and I’m glad I did because the second half of the quotation, the part that says that friendship is about creation as well as revelation, really resonated with me.

Christ, who said to the disciples “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends “You have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of all the others. They are no greater than the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them. They are, like all beauties, derived from Him, and then, in a good Friendship, increased by Him through the Friendship itself, so that it is His instrument for creating as well as for revealing.

It made me think about how I see new things through my friends, and how old things become new when seen through their eyes. But more than that, it brought home the central truth of friendship…

At this feast it is He who has spread the board and it is He who has chosen the guests. It is He, we may dare to hope, who sometimes does, and always should, preside. Let us not reckon without our Host.

Love or Money?

That question threw me a little at lunch.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that technically, we were out discussing business, and had, in fact, been discussing some rather technical things.

Or maybe it threw me because my relationship with my companion is in that early period where a friendship is starting to blossom but it’s not getting too personal, and perhaps this is too intimate a question.

I don’t think so….I think what threw me is that I answered love immediately, without thinking about it or even trying to formulate an explanation. It’s plain and simple. Love wins every time.

My friend was surprised. I think she was expecting me to dance around the question a bit, but my response was so immediate and uttered with such conviction that we both just sat looking at each other until she asked for clarification.

I didn’t think it needed clarification, but she seemed intent on wanting to have the conversation, and posed a follow up question about the need for money to take care of loved ones. Ah, well, yes, that’s a necessity, but not really the same as the first question, now is it?

I discovered that her question had less to do with priorities in a hypothetical discussion and more to do with figuring out how to balance our physical needs (and, yes, our desires) to make things good for those we love…whatever that good is, whether it is a nutritious meal or clothes or some spontaneous or frivolous expense to bring a moment of joy.

We don’t need a lot of money for that, but it sure helps.

Our conversation didn’t change my response. And frankly, I never got the sense that she thought money was more important. In fact, it broadened my understanding of it because of something else she said in the course of our conversation. She recognized that there wasn’t going to be a nice neat answer to her question, but that she found a great sense of relief in knowing that I didn’t have any answers either.

Ha. Wait a minute….

If you know me, you know I have plenty of questions and generally, few answers, so I can’t say I was offended, but she was onto something. Something I think I know quite naturally because of my faith and upbringing and that she was appreciating in the moment: namely, that we are social creatures and we need each other, not just for the obvious tribal needs such as protection or hunting or whatever some dead anthropologists said, but because we belong in community.

She took comfort in knowing she wasn’t alone in her fears. None of us should feel that way, but I know we sometimes do, at least I do. I was wracking my brain for some appropriately well-known scripture commonly quoted in the Bible Belt, but I kept coming back to Church teachings on community and our interdependence as members of the human family. If I’d had the Catechism of the Catholic Church in my car I would have pulled it out to quote directly from it (um…yes, I’m sure there’s an app for that). Still, I’m fairly certain I got the gist of it okay. She seemed content.

And I’m certain the message was meant as much for me, as it was for her.


I think I finally get old people

Had lunch with a dear old friend. A four-hour lunch. I’ll confess that we drank a number of margaritas. We were busy talking and didn’t want the check or the annoying waiter, so we’d wave him over to get us a couple of more. Which led to a couple of more. And a couple more. …Perhaps it’s not prudent to actually reveal how many we consumed. 🙂

It was like old-times in college, and by that I mean that it was like nary a year had passed after we finished the pleasantries and caught up with where we were with the husbands, the kids, work, you know. Then suddenly, we were just jabbering away.

The meal itself was forgettable. Mexican nouvelle cuisine. It was different. Not bad, just…different. It was nothing like the ridiculous greasy portions at our old stomping ground, El Torito, but the ambiance was good, the margaritas exceptional, and the company, of course, unparalleled.

I don’t enjoy days like that enough — I just don’t make the time for a restorative afternoon for myself, with someone I like, doing something I enjoy (this isn’t helping my reputation as a lush, is it?).

Don’t read something sad or pathetic into this — that’s not where I’m going with my thoughts. I have plenty that keeps me busy, and in spite of the griping and busy-ness of it, I enjoy what I do, the friends I have, and the random escapes with the hubs to watch movies IN THE THEATER! (this is significant if you know John can’t stand going to the movies and being surrounded by teenagers with their cell-phones).

It made me think about why we find such comfort in reconnecting with people from our past — people we still feel close to because they were such an important part of our lives, but circumstances, distance, heck — life — has happened and created distance. A distance, by the way, that we’re content with but is so easily bridged. With a call. A conversation. A message on Facebook.

And yes. A margarita. 🙂

Those friendships age like a good wine — maturing and gaining strength, and perhaps we are drawn to them when we’re older, not so much to re-live wild days, but reminisce and feel the bonds of that relationship. It validates, not so much who we were, but who we have become because the roots of that are certainly set in those relationships.

We were just two middle-aged broads holding the menus at arm’s length and fumbling around for the reading glasses. It was a good laugh.

And a reminder that this is a good life.