Thursday, July 14, 2005

A Friend in need

"A friend in need is a friend indeed."
English proverb

Someone asked me if I had any stories about friends who disappoint or don’t treat you very well. This brought to mind a flood of memories, of good friends who couldn't always be there for me 100%, of bad friends who betrayed me egregiously, of people I thought were friends who turned out to be merely acquaintances, and acquaintances who turned out to be loyal and attentive friends.

And it reminded me of a passage attributed to Mary Baker Eddy:

We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms. Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world's evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it, — determined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is, unless the offense be against God.

--"Taking Offence," Miscellaneous Writings

A tall order, I admit. But it has helped me keep things in perspective. We don’t always know the slings and arrows in our friends' lives that make them behave the way they do. One moment of stress can tip a relationship off balance unintentionally; a lifetime of overcoming hardship can make a person staunch and unwavering one moment yet weak and unreliable the next.

I've had my moments of being very deeply hurt, almost always because I misjudged the totality of a friend's affection for me. Or rather, misjudged the ability of my friend to read my mind and know exactly what I needed. I think this is a function of the fact that we choose our friends. Our family or work associates are given to us, but who we let in as a friend is our own doing. To me then, being disappointed by a friend was always bitter.

Yet there have also been the moments of love unlooked for, unexpected gestures of support from people peripheral to me. I believe now that God sends the friends we need. If we free ourselves from needing things from particular people and look to God, He will send the one right interaction that comforts or encourages us. Good is surrounding us and upholding us continually. We move through this ether of good eternally. To believe it's attached to those we've labeled "friends" and unavailable elsewhere is to limit the good we can experience.

One evening many years ago, I was exhausted and needed support. I had a huge presentation to give to about a hundred people in a few hours, and days had gone into the preparation. Yet when the time came, I could barely get out of bed. What I really wanted was someone to pray for me. A quick flip through my Rolodex (remember those?) revealed no one. No one answered my calls. I felt isolated and alone.

I dragged myself to my meeting. Somehow I gathered the strength to smile and greet people, all the time wondering how I was going to get through the presentation. Then, inexplicably, about five minutes beforehand, I felt a surge of energy. The presentation went well, people were inspired, and I went home exhilarated.

When I got home, there was a message on my machine. A dear voice of a spiritual mentor across the country bubbled forth. She had had a sudden intuition to give me a call and let me know how much she appreciated the work I was doing, although she knew nothing about that specific event. She had called about the time I was greeting people at the presentation, so that's when I had been in her thoughts. Her mental support had made the difference. When I called to tell her what happened, we rejoiced together. She was my friend in need.

Your friends in need might be unexpected people or might be your dearest friends. The thing to remember is that God is your Best Friend, and all friendship is an expression of His love. It's always there for you, in one form or another. God is your Friend in need.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 7/15/2005 09:29:00 AM, Blogger Laura said...

Dear Laura,

If God is my best Friend, and He is through His Voice, the Holy Spirit
in me, I’d like to also use the seven synonyms for God as ‘Friend.’ (I
have learned to apply them in my healing prayers through my study in
Christian Science.)

Ever-present Truth is my Friend for It corrects the errors in my
thoughts which otherwise might bring harm.

All-encompassing Love is my Friend because It surrounds me day and
night with its gentle and loving protection.

Everlasting Life is my Friend. This frees me from the fear of death.

Infinite Spirit is my Friend for I know that I live in Him and am
therefore always safe.

Incorporeal Soul is my Friend because it proclaims mine and my
brother’s innocence and perfection.

The One Mind of God is my Friend because as It is the only Mind It is
also my Mind. This is peace and this is joy; this is harmony and well
being guaranteed.

Divine Principle is my Friend for it is He Who maintains His image and
likeness. This is not repair maintenance but keeping all of His
creation, and this includes me and you, in a constant state of
spiritual perfection.

Love, Veronika

Miracle Practice - Healing Circle of Light


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