Having friends who have been in your life for years, decades even, are gifts that give over and over again. They can see the scars as wisdom, hold the memories as prayer and recognise the frailties as kinsutori (more beautiful because first broken and then repaired with golden thread). Friendship often just needs a light touch, a glance, a stroke on the back of a hand, even the removal of a recalcitrant thread on a garment will define the depth of a friendship. The time spent sitting in a back yard chatting, drinking another glass of shiraz or perhaps filling up the tea pot one more time, extends the friendship and takes you to a deeper well. In this well are the truths, the surprises, the questions longing to take shape and reveal themselves as those golden threads to weave and heal the brokenness.
Such a privilege to be a friend and a salve to be-friended. I am deeply grateful and bow down to the friend in you that I hope will find the friend in me, even when there is little for me to give. There is a social contract of conditional love that seems to seep into many friendships and family relationships and it is often only when one has literally nothing to give that conditions fade and the gift is given without any notation on the ledger. Perhaps this is where compassion makes a home, at the threshold between conditional and unconditional love and as we stand under the lintel, the invitation from compassion helps us lean in to accept the invitation that may take us to a new level in the relationship in friendship and a new level to our selves.
In the Celtic tradition it is cara, that is the friend, and anam cara, the soul friend – that person a guide to your self with whom you are at home and through their presence also brings you home. A friend “… opens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you” (John O’Donohue – Anam Cara). In this friendship we show up with one another with complete integrity, vulnerability and with a knowing that hearts will meet and hearts that will break.
I am grateful for the times I have been a friend to others and the friend I might be into the future. The well is deep and making a space to receive and be blessed by the waters of that well is a daily practice and one I am learning to activate. So to all my friends I say thank you for hanging out and hanging in with me … time and time again for your love conditional and unconditional and for inviting me to threshold moments in your lives and mine.
For my friends
Witness my walking,
and falling on the earth.
Enter my dark and dank places.
Lighten my load with flowers and hugs.
Bring surprising questions, to open my heart.
Throw me distractions, to tease my brain.
Celebrate my resting and hibernation.
Invite and include me.
Cover me in colour.
Find me in frames of stories past and new beginnings.
Surround and hold me, even when I don’t notice.
Hold the torch into nooks and crannies of my vault of fears.
May many anam cara show up for you,
just as you do for me,
at thresholds of becomings.