In Friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years difference in the dates
of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of
another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting, — any of these
chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances.
A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to his disciples, “Ye have not
chosen me, but I have chosen you” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have
not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward
for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which
God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” from The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis
This quote struck me instantly, as I am yet to read this work by C.S.Lewis! However, how true it is when one reflects on a life full of beautiful friendships, that God’s hand was in them all.
My friendships span thousands of miles, different races, faiths and cultures. I was raised to look for God’s hand in all things, that nothing was by chance. I can certainly see that in various periods of my life in regards to my friendships.
As a sixteen year old, my group of friends that were so important to who I thought I was, or wanted to be, stopped talking to me. To this day I have no idea what the misunderstanding or problem was. However, it meant that I made friends with a group of young people who were quirky, comfortable in their own skin, kind, loyal, and the “Bible bashers” of the sixth form!
Yes, they showed me something unique and beautiful; real, genuine, faith in God and personal relationships with Jesus in the 16-18 year old crowd.
They loved me to Jesus, and I will be forever grateful.
God was in the details as they say, protecting me from negative influences, and bringing me to Him.
There have been other friendships that have shaped my view of the world, God and humanity. My closest friend struggling with infertility, the miles we were apart allowed her to be truly open and vulnerable with me, and allowed me to be part of her healing journey. My sweet friend who fled with her husband and young children for their lives from Iraq, demonstrated the real suffering and complexities of immigration, but also the beauty of love for God and their homeland. I have learned so much from my dear friends.
My most truly meaningful time was, however, around the break up of my marriage. It is no coincidence that in the couple of years prior to my former husband leaving, God was helping me build beautiful and meaningful relationships within my neighborhood and parish. When Mike left, I had a community of people who loved me and God, to hold me up and show me the beauty of humanity.
God created us all so well.
My children reflect on that painful time when their dad left as a time when they were also so well loved. My youngest child forgets why we went to our sweet friends’ home each week for dinner for just over two years. He just misses that time of togetherness and love, it allowed him to see the love of God through these dear friends. We could have become bitter, but instead God allowed our friends to fill us up with love. We all have a beautiful gift to reach out and love friends and strangers. In those moments of connection, I believe there is the divine presence of the Holy Spirit. Let’s always remain open to His nudgings and allow us to see the beauty in each other.