Day 13 Friends

Of all things that wisdom provides for living one’s entire life in happiness,
                                                   the greatest by far is the possession of friendship. 
                                                                                                ~ Epicurus

Once I had a friend who lived in a small town and was exposed in a terrible scandal.  She was miserable and found that many of her “friends” would actually cross the street to avoid her.  In an effort to console, I told her that one advantage to her wretched situation is that now she knew who her real friends were.  Her response: “Who cares! I never really wanted to know that particular piece of information.”  I have always valued friendship and have been a person who has contributed a significant amount of time and energy in cultivating and maintaining relationships.  In spite of all that effort, I never truly understood the profound experience of friends in the midst of suffering.   My email, voicemail and the texts on my mobile phone were full of tender and thoughtful communications in the aftermath of my father’s death.  It was remarkable how consoling those messages were to my broken heart.  Upon my return home from my father’s funeral there was a stack of greeting cards, mass intentions and small gifts.  Each contact carried with it a ping of direct loving energy.

While I am still attempting to decode the feelings and sensations of suddenly loosing a loving parent, my immediate thought is how alone one feels – a major touchstone, a completely reliable source of unconditional love vanishes and one feels disoriented.  So suddenly you’re alone, shocked and frightened and then the voices of friends shower over you like music, like the smell of freshly baked bread coming out of the oven, like the voice of your physician telling you he was mistaken and you are going to be just fine.   “Well, so what,” says my disheartened friend from the past, “what am I supposed to do with all THAT?”  Well this:  pick up the phone and make the call.  Go get the card and spend five minutes composing a sincere message, send the text, buy the present, do it today, because you will never know the tremendous feeling of safety and perspective you will bring to someone you love.  It changes everything~

Because you have the Lord for your refuge;
you have made the Most High your stronghold. 
No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent,
for to his angels he has given command about you,
that they guard you in all your ways. 
Upon their hands they shall bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
Psalm 91

 

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2 Responses to Day 13 Friends

  1. Martha Dolciamore says:

    I am still feeling the effect of not having Mom in the next room, of not hearing her call me (over and over) to do so many things for her, of not being able to surprise her with a special meal, of not being able to feel her rest her head on my shoulder and telling me, “I love you.” On June 1 it will be one year and the memory is as fresh as if it had just happened. I often stress to people: if your parent is still alive, call them, write them, go and hug them. Your sorrow is still fresh, Fr Matt. Time will pass but you will never forget your dad. But knowing he is in Heaven, waiting for you, will make the days feel less sad. I wrote this poem for my Mom and share it here with you: I am on a journey called remembrance where I often encounter you/there is a mixture of many memories-a joyous, happy brew/the trek isn’t easy-its full of twists and turns/and when I feel I cannot go another step, another sweet memory returns/I will always be on this journey-this personal memory cruise; for only in that special place, can I always find you.
    God bless, Fr Matt…

  2. Lucy Bryan says:

    Dear Fr. Matt…..the journey through sadness I think, is meant to be a ‘teaching’ event…I know you little but from your visit to St Alphonsus I believe that is how you will use your sadness. In my own experience, Introspection, made me see that God is not through with me, and I have much to learn about loving and,that it is through loss that the measure of our love for someone becomes clearer. Your Dad and all who love you are the measure of God’s love for you. And so,,as my friiend Marion would say, REJOICE your Dad was a gift……and,the many facets of sadness you experience will become a blessing to all whom you serve.
    Warmest regards, and prayers for your journjey.
    Lucy Bryan

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