A Blessing for Friendship

By Paul Dunion | March 10, 2019

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.

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