St Augustine on Friendship

St Augustine’s Teaching
The joy of friendship is beautifully described in this quote:

In my friends I found pleasures, which captivated my mind: shared talk, shared laughter, mutual acts of kindness, the shared reading of good literature, of moments of levity and seriousness; occasional disagreements that were without ill-feeling, as a man can disagree with himself, which gave relish to our more usual concord; teaching and learning from each other, longing impatiently for each other when absent, welcoming our absent friends with joy when they returned. There and other such tokens, which proceed from the hearts of those who love each other and express themselves in the face, the speech, the eyes, and a thousand gestures of goodwill, are so to speak, the kindling of the fire which melds together, making one out of many. (Confessions IV.18.13)

Walter Hansen from “Augustine and C.S. Lewis on Friendship”
Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Over the past couple years, I stepped away from the hustle and bustle of life to learn who I was and to heal myself from the many losses I experienced. One of the things that came from this period of growth was learning how to deeply love my friends when I’m around them. I know we say it a lot, but the only way it has been possible for me to be able to love my friends properly was to learn how to deeply love myself.

Augustine’s description of friendship is beautiful. It sounds like an intimate friendship that would add so much value to being alive. I learned (and am still learning) that in order to even attempt a friendship to that level of intimacy, it absolutely, without a doubt, requires that identical friendship with your inner self. St Augustine refers to this inner friendship as one you’d have with God. The Christian faith which St Augustine wrote about, would suggest these two things are not interchangeable. But let’s not forget how connected everything is. If we don’t respect ourselves, we don’t know how to respect our friends. If our inner voice is harsh and condescending, that is how we will treat our friends. There’s no way around it. This isn’t religion or spirituality. This is basic psychology.

Religion vs Psychology aside, the quote above is a great description for #squadgoals. Who doesn’t want a friendship like that? When I have free time, this is how I want my time spent. These are the friendships I want to cultivate and maintain.

I think I’ll post this one on my wall to motivate me to take my artist dates.

Source
https://www.jstor.org/stable/48619571

Published by Jayne

Jayne is a writer. On her free time she likes to be with her family hiking outdoors and traveling. New England is her home and place of birth. When asked what she wants to teach the world she replied, "Don't stop searching. Too many times, in my old life, I put my search aside for more 'important matters.' I didn't realize the thing I was searching for held what was most important; my soul purpose." Jayne works daily improving her craft and at times can get down on herself, but her favorite morning mantra is "It's a new day." and that's what she strives to start with.

4 thoughts on “St Augustine on Friendship

  1. Very inspiring post! The Confessions is on my shelf but haven’t given it a read. I am glad you shared an excerpt. I wouldn’t have thought it’s Augustine’s. I related a lot to your thoughts on initiating a friendship with ourselves. This is the last thing we often think about. My last two years has been the beginning of such a process, sometimes painful and sometimes very joyful. And I’m amazed how my more integrated self can be more loving and accepting toward others. What I rejected in others I had already rejected in myself.
    I need to hear messages like yours to remind myself of this journey or else I’m one very quick to forget.
    Thanks for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking time to comment and share some of yourself with me. I totally agree with you. I need to hear this regularly too. It’s silly because so many times I know what I need to do, it just takes time for my actions to line up with my knowing. hahaha New places and spaces take me time to warm up to as well. So if I’m working on something new plus I’m in a new physical space (new gym, new mailbox, new business location etc) I probably won’t see new behaviors take hold until I’ve adjusted to my new space. haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely agreed. I too take time to fine my place in a new space. To remind myself of the journey I’ve been using sticky notes recently all over the place lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank goodness for the invention of sticky notes. I’ve tried e versions for my phone and computer and they just don’t work the same for me lol

        Liked by 1 person

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