Friday, August 26, 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Be Still and Know that I am God

                                 Psalm 46:10 - Amen.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Deepest Friendship...

     The topic of friendship has been ongoing for me this week with conversations, reflection and articles. What constitutes a true friendship? How many ‘real’ friends do we have? Are certain people ‘friends’ or really mere acquaintances on Facebook? Are we being used? Are we missed?
      The deepest of all friendships, in many cases, more so than relationships with spouses, siblings and relatives, according to psychotherapist, Dr. Philip Mango, is ‘spiritual.’ It goes beyond niceties, compliments and the frequency with which we see a person. It’s a soul-to-soul connection. Eternal. Kindred spirits, truly.

     Sometimes this kind of friendship happens instantly. The draw is immediate. We don’t really understand it at first…we might be of different races, marital status, ages and genders. But then, perhaps weeks, months, or years later, after gradual steps of friendship begin, a profound inner bond is established. Most often neither person says a thing about it, but they know that they will always be there, support and pray for one another. They often share in ways that don’t require many words because the soul understands what can go unheard with others. Physical separation doesn’t alter the tie. When they meet after long spaces of time, they pick up right where they left off.
        Some of us have an ongoing ‘spiritual’ friendship with a priest, minister, or rabbi for many years. Others ‘connect’ on a spiritual level with a band member, a student in class, a member of church, a book club, even the gym! At some point, the recognition of ‘soul’ sameness becomes relational.
        Other ‘spiritual’ friendships seem temporary, but are far more enduring than what is seen on the surface .God places a person in our life that brightens our outlook, like a shining star in the darkness, seemingly out of nowhere. We languish in the light of one another's insights and God-given personalities. And then the star must move to another orbit. Oh, how we miss that star! But the light placed within us becomes a part or our inner light for always. We are changed for the better. We never forget, and remain forever grateful for that connection, even if we cannot have regular interaction and exchanges any longer.
       Now this might read a bit mystical and strange, even romanticized in nature; that’s because there are ‘three’ in this friendship…me/you, our friend and God.   
     Ahh, that’s how it is with spiritual friendships. Nothing shallow or fleeting about it. Not built on how popular each of us is on social media, or what we look like. It runs deeper. We feel and see the soul's sensitivities, goodness, gifts, kindnesses, which only God can clarify and encourage us to use for one another. A spiritual companion.
    When we enjoy making music together, works of art, moments in nature, prose, sentiments of compassion and charity…when we pray together...we gravitate as sisters, brothers, or sister and brother, closer to God on our journey. Differences simply add a new perspective we hadn’t had before. The friendship broadens the soul's capacity for love and loyalty that we can then pass on to others…divinely inspired.
    A big side-effect of 'spiritual' friendship is joy!

     This is not to overlook or view the many other kinds of beneficial friendships we have as trivial and lacking substance. Every person who brings good into our lives, and we in theirs, is a gift. Every friend contributes to the importance of socializing and community…whether we have shopping, movie, lunch, work and/or church committee buddies. Even acquaintances on Facebook bring some form of inspiration or a smile now and again.
     Who knows? One of them might be destined to be a spiritual friend. And if that happens, the soul will know. And yes, these friends can be counted on one hand, after all, we are unique individuals and when we mesh with another soul it is rare and beautiful. 
      Thank you my spiritual friends…you know who you are.