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”
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.