Friendship is the place where our hearts are touched
and moved. Moved toward some depth of feeling
and insight. Moved toward some new courage ushering
me closer to a risk that has been waiting for me.
My friend remembers himself in my presence,
assuring me that distractions will be minimal.
My friend remembers me, and in this collective
remembering, I am wrapped in belonging.
The fear of remembering myself peels away.
I, once again, find residence in my own soul.
Fear’s grip begins to atrophy and I offer a welcome
to my brokenness. Shame’s relentless pounding is
silenced as his compassionate gaze softens my
vision of my inevitable imperfections. An unnecessary
striving finds a temporary respite in his company.
I risk giving a voice to some personal triumph.
I don’t hear an accusation of excessive boastfulness.
I don’t see down-trodden eyes suggesting some
self-diminishment on behalf of the listener. I sense
no wave of envy that would have a man stepping
away. I don’t understand. Where is the chilling
wind of competition measuring one man against
the other? There is only the celebratory gaze
of my friend, blessing my good fortune.
I come to understand why the ancient sage referred
to Philia, or friendship, as the highest of all virtues.
It is about being accompanied. It is that company
I return to after succumbing to some seduction to
to be excessively appropriate, or an eagerness to
impress. In this friendship, I’ve come to know home.