Saturday, March 06, 2010

Day 16 of Lent :: The Gift of Friendship

“Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If they fall down, they can help each other up.
But pity those who fall
and have no one to help them up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Within each of us, there remains in our hearts, things that we ourselves cannot see. We may be able to articulate our gifts and weakness, our ambitions and aspirations, our motives and drives, but large parts of ourselves remain in the shadow of consciousness. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see these areas in us better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves. Nouwen called these hidden areas of our hearts “twilight zones.” It is the “twilight zones” of our hearts, he says, where true friendship is born. (Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, 24)

Prayer: Loving God, take my poor offering of friendship and remind me every day of your invitation to journey with you to the Easter miracle of the Resurrection. Allow me to accept the weaknesses and defects that you and others see in me, but which are hidden from me. Lift me up when I fall, and always let me reach for, not reject, Your outstretched hand of welcome and forgiveness. And, keep my sins and doubts from leaching the joy out of life.

Action: Mentally bless each person you meet today and salute them with loving cheerfulness. Be quick to verbally commend the accomplishments of others just as Christ is quick to commend yours.

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