Thursday, May 29, 2008


1 Samuel 20:42

Just as solitude is the movement towards inner reflection and renewal, so friendship is the outer movement and participation. These two movements are inter-related. In solitude we seek to find our true selves so that we can join with others in such a way that we don't lose ourselves and become overwhelmed. In friendship we express the fruits of solitude in order to serve the other. In friendship we bind ourselves to each other. In solitude we free ourselves to be our own persons.

Maintaining both movements is essential for personal development. Solitude without the movement to engagement and service is self-indulgent . Service without practice of solitude can easily become a trying and demanding routine.

The practice of solitude is particularly important for the art of friendship. In friendship we can bind ourselves too closely. With our demands, hopes and expectations of the other, we can stulify the potential in our relationship.

Nouwen, quoting Bernard of Clairvaux, expresses the importance of freedom in our friendship: ' You can reach me still whenever you wish if you are content to find me as I am, not as you wish me to be'. This sound piece of advice identifies that htere is nothing static about friendship. We change adn friendship remains vital if it is based on the changing self. If this is to occur we need to relinquish past experiences and images and gladly embrace the new.

This process of relinquishment is never easy, but can be made real in quiet place. It is there that we come in terms with changes that need to be made in order that our friendship may remain vital and empowering.

I came across this devotion today, and as I was reflecting on the words written and on my friendships, I was reminded that it is indeed important to find time in solitude (that includes reflections and prayers) to sustain one's relationships.

I have been blessed with wonderful life-long friends and journeying with them helped me realize my weaknesses and my strengths. It is also in my relationships that I find one of my purposes in God's plan not only for my life but also for them.

Yes, at times serving them becomes so tiring and can stultify the joy but you will also learn and experience that God's grace abounds more and more, and that when you can no longer give and serve, Jesus comes to the rescue. He is constantly teaching us how to endure, how to care for others, and how to give our lives selflessly to them. God's love is so powerful that once you allow yourself to be ruled by it, it can overcome all difficulties in our relationships.

The secret to true friendship is Christ Himself... Who exemplified pure love for friends and is our Greatest Friend today.

May you open your heart to Him today, and live through the joy of having relationships centered in Jesus.