Friendship on The Perennial Gen
Friendship. “My friend Sarah says a relationship is like being at opposite ends of a bridge and meeting one another in the middle.” Thus, begins my July post for The Perennial Gen: https://theperennialgen.com/meeting-one-another-in-the-middle-of-a-bridge/. What follows are stories about faith and wisdom, shared in the middle of that bridge called friendship.
Sarah and I visit one another once or twice a year—either here at Vanaprastha or at her home, pictured here in winter. But in the past year, it’s been phone calls and Zoom. God willing, I’ll visit her in Maryland on my way to HippoCamp in Lancaster, Pennsylvania next month. Again, two “sisters” will sit and talk about family and faith.
Friendship according to C.S. Lewis
“To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves,” said Lewis, “the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it.”
According to C.S. Lewis, in his Four Types of Love, Friendship (Philia) is time consuming and doesn’t provide the qualities that Romantic love (Eros) and Affection (Storge) provide—a sense of place and belonging and productivity—or the love of God called Agape. But Lewis thought Philia most closely resembled Heaven where we’ll be intertwined in our relationships, in kinship with one another over something we have in common.
“Friendship must be about something,” Lewis said, “even if it were only an enthusiasm for dominoes or white mice. Those who have nothing can share nothing; those who are going nowhere can have no fellow-travelers.”
Friendship in the second half of life
Friends can be acquaintances, casual, close, or best. Friendships might be utilitarian, such as sharing tools with neighbors, or pleasurable—enjoying one another’s company—or significant relationships based on respect and admiration. Some say a true friend is someone who has your back, not matter what. But true friends never purposefully lead you astray; they always have your best interest at heart.
My fellow Perennial Generation contributor Dorothy Littell Greco, author of Marriage in the Middle, wrote a recent piece about friendship in the second half of life:
“Sowing into relationships is one of the best decisions that we can make during this season of life when we’re constantly facing losses and bumping into our limitations. For those of us who are married, even the most amazing spouse will not be able to consistently meet all of our needs. Friendships fill the gaps, help us laugh, and as researchers have been discovering, improve our overall health.”
Here’s to fellow travelers and seed-sowing friendships.
Happy 4th of July on the 5th!
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