We cannot tell the exact moment a friendship is formed; as in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses, there is at last one that makes the heart run over.
My phone buzzes in the middle of the night, a repetitive staccato. Someone’s mind is wrestling and restless with contention, causing sleeplessness. No wonder, as I wake from my slumber containing a dream of you anyway, that my eyes and hands are flickering open reaching for contact before I’m even aware. I know the sound of your thoughts on the black sky and the moonlight wakes me before they reach me.
What is this strange entanglement of thoughts and presence that wraps around me? You reach deep into my mind and extract all sorts of secrets and goodness. You shine light into spaces I had kept away and make them appear beautiful for your knowing them, and I in turn, have a knowing of you that makes the heart full, the drop of running-over has landed on the parched soil of the soul. I am connected with all the intangible parts of me.
Companion is the word that stretches into my memory. A friend who is frequently in the company of another, a traveller on the journey who accompanies you. The ‘other’ of another.
Thomas Merton said ‘The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them. Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay.”
And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart;
For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit.
For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.