With all this rich friendship in my life, I hadn’t given much thought to what it would be like to be friendless. But when a close friend “broke up” with me, I felt isolated and alone. It wasn’t that I didn’t have other friends. I was simply confused as to why I couldn’t have that one in my life.
I had had breakups before, but none that rocked me like this one. For several months after, I avoided even thinking about my friend, not wanting to hear in my mind those stomach-socking words, “I don’t want to have any more contact with you.” Although her reasons made no sense to me, I respected her directness. I had to let her go. And I learned a few lessons about friendship along the way.
My lessons on friendship came from prayer about Love, from prayer centered on getting to know the universal Love that is God as my best and ever Friend. The first chapter of Science and Health, titled Prayer, emphasizes God’s nature as Love – not simply as having a loving aspect, but as Love, divine Love itself – the impartial, always available Love that never puts conditions on His expression of love - “I’ll love you this much if…” Or, “I’ll be your Friend when…” Love loves like the sun shines. No one is left out of the Love-light. Divine Love is not conditional or arbitrary. It is universal, unlimited and freely given.
Love can do nothing but express love to everyone, everywhere. Love is all, and we all live in God’s love. Divine Love never quits, never changes, never stops. God is the everpresent Friend that never abandons His creation. As I got to know God as my Friend, I saw that I could trust this Friend to never drop me. In this enormous sense of Love’s friendship, I saw God as my constant Companion and my most faithful Friend.
O Lord, I would delight in Thee, And on Thy care depend;
Knowing God to be Friend helped me lift up my expectations in my human friendships to look for, in myself and in those around me, the permanence, fidelity and other spiritual qualities inherent in God’s creation as His image and likeness.
In her autobiography, Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, “There are no greater miracles known to earth than perfection and an unbroken friendship. We love our friends, but ofttimes we lose them in proportion to our affection.“ (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 80) Jesus called Judas “friend” even after knowing that he betrayed him. Jesus knew his true and perfect Friend to be God, and could only see God’s likeness in those he loved. Jesus always loved Judas. While Judas' behavior may have separated him from Jesus, it was a onesided break-up. Even betrayal couldn’t separate Jesus from his friend.
No child of God can truly unfriend another. Friendship is an expression of Life as much as an expression of Love. It is not optional. If it should occur that we disconnect and go our separate ways, we are all still linked eternally in life and love by divine Love. And only in love. Not in pain, dishonesty, hate, sadness or fear.
I think a line from Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 30 sums up perfectly what a spiritual perspective can bring to our friendships: “But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, All losses are restored, and sorrows end.” My anguish over that relationship stopped as I realized that nothing has the power to deprive me of true friendship, a divine attribute that God expresses constantly in my life. Since no one can be Godless, no one can be friendless. Now when I think of that friend, instead of pain and loss, I feel love. And loved. We are both loved, moving forward and progressing in Love. No one is left out or put out of Love's circle of friends. No one.
O, sometimes gleams upon our sight, Through present wrong, th' eternal right;
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