Interesting,timely and very helpful
I stumbled upon a book I was compelled to order, pay money for and hopefully receive in the next few days. The Feast of Friendship, by Fr. Paul O'Callahan. I read a few excerpts, and will share them. This is very relevant to my life right now. Friendships have been the life blood during the last few years of my life, when turbulence has reigned. But friendships have wavered, causing confusion and pain. Friendships have been redefined, and therefore, become different in kind and distinction, and the shaking up has been painful. As I read these excerpts, I realized this was a topic I needed to study. One can not love without counting the cost if one is not very educated in the fine points of friendship. Stay tuned, I should be getting this books in a few days. Sounds terrific. In the mean time, here are some excerpts:
The Achievement of Personhood
Love, freely given, manifests the essential relatedness of a person to
others. Thus, the individual who cannot love fails to develop true personhood…. the one who loves fully becomes his own identity through communion with others….The achievement of human personhood therefore is unthinkable apart from the drive for communion. It is undeniable that relatedness is a fact of human existence from the
moment of our conception. We are conceived in the fire of passionate relations between two people. We develop in the nurturing womb of our mother. We experience our relatedness first at her breast, and then with our father and siblings, relatives and neighbors. We find out soon enough that our existence has occurred in the nexus of particular communities, and then discover the place of those communities in the
larger realm of the human race in the world. We venture into friendships, integrate into all kinds of associations, find lovers, marry, and beget children. Even the most distinctly biological aspects of our generation and socialization do not and cannot occur apart from personal relationships. When one becomes fully conscious, one recognizes the dimension of communion that is possible, may actually underlie, and is often manifest in such relationships. The highest and most fulfilling are those in which a genuine experience of communion between persons takes place in utter freedom: friendships and marriage.
The Creativity of Friendship
Because we allow our friends access to the intimate spaces of our hearts, we
place them in a position to deeply affect us…. They discern and seize upon our deepest spiritual aspirations and encourage us to strive more mightily to realize them than we could ever do alone…. They recognize our genuine gifts and talents, and embolden the humble expression of them….Fundamentally, genuine friends grant us access to the most creative dimensions of our souls by receiving us and reflecting us back to ourselves.
Issues and Problems in Friendships: Needs, Possessiveness, and Expectations
If perfect intimacy is to be attained and preserved in a friendship… certain basic principles must be honored. The first is the absolute necessity of maintaining distance in the relationship. We may imagine that the common dimension shared by friends exists in the delicate space in between them…numerous forms of over-identification can collapse it, such as possessiveness, inappropriate expectations….The freedom and autonomy of real persons are precisely the prerequisites of genuine friendship….one trusts the character of his friend and thus setting rules for his behavior is out of the question…. The development of highly specific sets of expectations among friends… at bottom…
betrays a lack of trust. It reveals the desire to regulate and control the other…. True friends relish the distance between them as much as the communion that unites them. This is because they recognize that the distance between free, whole, autonomous persons is the essential precondition of their relatedness.
(Italic emphasis mine. Pierced my heart, it did)
(h/t to Pen and Palette, where I found reference to and excerpts from this book