Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Friendship

We need a theology of friendship like we need a functional democracy. If I had the patience or the frame of mind to draw the connections, there could be much to say about the way government might work more successfully if we knew how to be better friends to each other. I found this piece on Slate.com that compares the troubles between the Left and the Right in need of marriage counseling. The comparison is a bit sentimental and overwrought. It fears the democrats' jaded and cutting cynicism is more destructive to our country than the republicans' anger. And this quirky analysis is just the bread and butter of quirk that Slate puts out: how to look at an issue from a somewhat less than conventional twist.

However, I'm thinking about friendship because I've just had a visit from Judson Tompkins. He flew into GR on Thursday. We drove on over to Royal Oak for a Sufjan concert. What a trippy and delightful evening. I got to see David Stith if even for just a second. Jud and I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the studio working a bit on his music and some on mine too.

And now the day after he's gone I find myself feeling somewhat barren and this makes me feel guilty. I'm here at home, a day off with Susanna and Casper trying to take it easy and quiet and I'm feeling sorry for myself...the sap that I am? Casper is a delight. He is moving into his personality in a vivid way. Sharing these discoveries with Susanna is rich. I can feel parts of my insides expanding, becoming something more. And still I miss the Judson Tompkins, the Brad Kilmans, the Josh Bottomlys of my world.

If there is anything that I really care about it is connection. Art, music, the studio, the creative process, worship, the rehearsals, the services, food at the table, film, literature...hospitality in all its forms. These are all ways to be with people. It is what I've been able to share with deep friends like Judson for years. It is what I share with Hope College students now. I work to create arenas for this to expand the way we think about our capacity for sharing our lives with each other.

Let's all promise to not take each other for granted. Let's promise to go out of our way more each week to share and give something. Let's imagine a way of sharing our times and energy on new people. Let's open ourselves and be surprised by someone we've not been paying attention to. It doesn't have to be grandiose in a dramatic fashion. In fact it is better if it is small and subtle because otherwise the gift ends up being more about us than the other. I feel kinda silly saying these things. I don't want to be naive or to add panic to our already busy lives. I'm working against that mantra, gotta do more...gotta be more. I don't want to be cheesy either. I want the real thing. I want history with people. Rootedness. To be known and to know. To move past small things.

I'm surprised by how much I want to be better at sharing myself. Where does this urge come from? Big thanks to Judson for reawakening this ever so painful yet hopeful ache. It is an ache for my Oklahoma family, but it is more for that. How to find the words tonight? I better not try to say more for now.

1 comment:

mwesterholm said...

Well done. I am glad to be your friend.

I was talking to a student who transferred from Hope to CU this fall, about seeing God's hand at work in his life. Thanks for your ministry to him while he was there---God used it.