Friendship is founded in the deep, the moments you open a little wider to bring a bit more of your self and sincerity to the world, openings that give you insight about yourself as much as anything. I am part of a group that has been meeting regularly for more than thirty years to reflect on our lives and each conversation is an invitation to expose and reveal something hidden. I never seem to know what that will be, in the safety and security of these friendships. Tears are common, laughter deep, and patient insightful questions are keys to the disclosure door.
There are lifetimes in many sentences, and it is here the mycelium of our entwined and familiar histories that sometimes words get in the way or what might be waiting to be discovered and revealed. I find myself often hearing myself into speech through echoing another’s experience ringing true for my own.
In a celebration of our lives yesterday the poignancy and place of grief and the always expanding universe founded on love and growing in love, were twins. It was that ancient philosopher Aristotle who said a friend holds the mirror up to us, and to Shakespeare who had Hamlet telling players their job was to hold the mirror up to nature to show virtue her feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Friendships are playful and in deep friendship you can bring a little pressure, jest and show with compassion and care what might be needed at that moment. It is a truly a great gift to receive a friend and to be a friend. This kind of mycelium is fed by kindness and love.
Seeping deep into the undergrowth, to find the love language Gary Chapman shared with the world, is part of nurturing friendship – words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, spending quality and physical touch. When we gathered this week, it was to celebrate a milestone of one of our number and as I travelled away from our time together, I realised we had done all five ways made visible by Chapman. We spent time affirming, brought food and gifts, a few had prepared a ritual, we lingered over hours in a long feast, we made time for hugs and anointing with perfumed oils. It was a very sensory experience … as it always is. More mycelium is built and the fruits of yesterday will continue to be consumed over time.
What spoke to me yesterday was the ever expanding nature of love and how deep and wide it is. A hall filled with hundreds of people to say farewell and give gratitude for a life of service connected intersecting communities this week. Last night I watched rooms of people in NSW gather to receive the news they had help make for a new government to be elected. This morning I heard from my sibling about a trail of discovery he is being carried on through the connections of the past, present and future. All these seemingly random relationships are not that at all, but rather expressions of friendships that find their way to link together, and if we are open to the surprise, if we are hopeful, if we are curious, and look in the mirror, we will be rewarded.
The reward of self-discovery and insight is nourishing food for the next piece of mycelium to be in love and service to the next. I remain in awe about how this all works to connect us up to each other to ideas, to our future. In a week where the IPCC has made it crystal clear this is a moment that must be grasped for our species survival, I am more hopeful than ever we will grasp the moment, because we are all connected and that is all we have to remember to keep taking the steps we need to take to the future. Imagine if we could see each other as friends what might be unlocked? Huge thank you to the sojourners and friends in my life, you help me to love.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash