Saturday, February 20, 2010

Great Friendships

I love C.S. Lewis. He was an incredibly brilliant and talented man. Most everyone knows about his "Chronicles of Narnia" and if you want a fabulous book on becoming a Christian, his "Mere Christianity" is amazing.

I was reading a Christian History magazine about him and came across this bit of information. When I read it, it was as if lightning struck. This made so much sense. Read it twice if you need to.

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out,” Lewis wrote. “By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s reaction to a specifically Caroline joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him ‘to myself’ now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald. Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth … each bringing out all that is best, wisest, or funniest in all the others.”
Christian History Magazine-Issue 88: C.S. Lewis: Pointing People to Reality. 2005. Carol Stream, IL: Christianity Today.

I love the way that he looks at friendship! Rather than being jealous of our friends having other friends, he recognizes that each person brings out something different in the other and that by having them all together, you experience an incredible depth of personality in your friends.

When I was very young, there was only one time that we had nearly the entire Greenwood clan together. There were 7 families and 23 grandkids. I believe that everyone was there except for one family and one or two cousins that couldn't get to town that evening. Grandma and Grandpa's house was packed to the gills with people. Laughter and food, loving and hugs were everywhere. This was the only time that we came together as a unit and it was a joyous evening, no one wanted it to end. There was enough history there to bind us all together and we understood the stories and were desperate for more tales of glory from the past.

About 10 years ago, there was a group of 8-9 much younger women (yes we were younger then) that tried to meet every month for a meal and friendship. If someone was missing, we felt the loss. You could practically identify the part of the group personality that each person brought and without it, there were parts missing.

When Carol and I were living together, we used to have fun dinner parties and try to mix up our friends from various parts of our lives. It was always interesting. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't, but it never stopped being entertaining and fun.

I have groups of friends in a lot of different areas of my life and each time I am with them I become something different ... something more, something greater ... because of their impact on my life.

Friendships are pretty amazing, aren't they?

Oh - and by the way, the Ronald in CS Lewis' story is JRR Tolkien.

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