The Atlantic is hopping on the Nicomachean Ethics bandwagon and attempting to dissect friendship, trying to discover how it lasts, what it is, how it changes. And why it changes. The article is so pedantic, and terribly depressing, as they try to discover what can keep friendship together, in the face of a complex world that seems intent on tearing friendships apart.
I think it comes from a deep place, also, of worry. We know that friendship is so important, and we worry that we will not get it.
Or we will have it, then it will disappear.
And there is reason to worry.
Because friends reveal such beauty to you: such wonderful depths of the human experience have been revealed to me through my friends: such joy, such deep, tender love, such kindness and such peace. Such comfort, such courage.
Friends have taught me all the different facets of what it means to be human. They have encouraged me to become more human, they have carved different facets onto my own soul.
Friendship is truly indispensable, I feel, to being human. It was rightly regarded by the ancients as the highest form of love, because it is about nothing more than discovering the human soul in front of you. A soul who shares your same desires; thoughts and loves, a language of describing the world that you thought no one else would ever share with you.
Friendship is such a deep mystery and grace.
For when you know someone--not as they reveal themselves to you--but who they really, truly, deeply are, you suddenly discover you can't grasp them at all. What really does make them tick?
What is really going through their minds? What motivates their actions?
You don't really know.
And the more you know them, the more you realize you may never fully understand them. But you know them, in a very mysterious way I can't quite place. You know who they are in the moments of time where they simply exist.
You know who they are in that fundamental, primal place of just being.
You know who they are when you are not around.
And that is not something you earn by wishing them "Happy Birthday" on Facebook. It's not something you hold onto by making sure to call them once a month. It's not something you can manufacture or piece together by yourself. It just seems to me to be a gargantuan grace. The most wonderful and essential grace of human life.
And I don't think The Atlantic understands this. They are very worried about losing something that is so deeply beautiful and spiritual, but without understanding the dynamics of grace that sustain this earthly miracle.
It really is a miracle that we, creatures who can only see the world through our own eyes, can learn to see the world from the orb of another. Our engines of empathy can inspire us to shift our center of gravity entirely, to include another person. If not for each moment of each day, but at least for a 90 minute phone call, we can be entirely immersed in the world of our friend, and see the world through her eyes.
This is a miracle. And miracles, of course, are unphased by time.