“I will speak ill of no man, and speak all the good I know of everybody.”
- Benjamin Franklin
“Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.”
~ Mark Twain
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic cords of memory will swell when again touched as surely they will be by the better angels of our nature. ~Abraham Lincoln
It is interesting when you have traveled a fair amount and lived in quite a few places you get to know a lot of people from across the social, political, racial and religious spectrum. In fact my friends are among the most diverse collection of people that anyone that I know. I was looking on my Facebook.com page recently after a post and noted the diversity of my friends. What was interesting was that they often are very passionate about their particular point of view be it religious, social or political. After a recent post I realized that in some cases it would not be a good thing to have some of them in the same room as each other as there might be bloodshed.
“To know someone here or there
with whom you can feel
there is understanding
in spite of distances or
That can make life a garden.”
Friendship… is not something you learn in school.But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.
One doesn’t know, till one is a bit at odds with the world, how much one’s friends who believe in one rather generously, mean to one. ~D.H. Lawrence
The interesting thing is that somehow the lives of this very diverse group of friends somehow intersect mine. I guess that is part of the life of a moderate. Now I’m sure in their hearts that some on the Left think that I’m a fundamentalist right fascist with militarist tendencies who is too concerned with the concerns of those on the political right, to which I will admit the militarist tendencies. Some on the right think that I am a leftist, agnostic socialist with militarist tendencies who is far too concerned with the concerns of those on the political left, to which I will admit my militaristic tendencies. However in the case of all my absolute concern with the rights of people on all sides of the political, social and religious spectrum that is the United States of America overrides about everything. While I may have strong opinions on various issues or may not have an opinion whatsoever depending on the issue I do not believe that political, religious or social views should keep me from being friends with anyone. There are some who will disagree with that and a decent number of people that have ended relationships with me over issues that I think are extraneous to friendship but what the hell these is no accounting for taste. At the same time I have been an ass at times and blown away relationships that should have been cultivated, but there is no accounting for my bad form.
“Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”
~ Abraham Lincoln
I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; my shadow does that much better.
A true friend is one who thinks you are a good egg even if you are half-cracked. ~Author Unknown
Despite all of this somehow I stand in the intersection of all of these wonderful people who are my friends going back to childhood. I guess one thing I’ve learned, often the hard way, is that you can have friendships and care about people even when you have disagreements with them, even serious disagreements because respect and love are more important than necessarily having to agree. Thus in an era of polarization I believe that as Americans that we need to find ways to get along. Thus when those on the left suggested leaving the country or persuading the military to lead a coup when George Bush was President and those on the right who advocate the same about President Obama I wonder what the hell they all are thinking. Now I know that many of my friends are extremely passionate about what they believe regardless of the viewpoint and that those views are very important to them I know that somehow we must find a way to as Rodney King once said “to get along.” Maybe it is my inner Anglican speaking but somehow I think that we need to find an American Via Media or middle way.
“There is no hope of joy except in human relations.”
~ Antoine de Sainte-Exupery
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival ~C.S. Lewis
My friends include political conservatives and liberals, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians and Independents. They include Christians from across the spectrum, Catholic and Protestant, Orthodox and Evangelical, Social Gospel and Fundamental, Charismatic and anti-Charismatic, Latter Day Saints, Seventh Day Adventists, Oneness Pentecostals, Particular Baptists, Calvinists, Wesleyans, Premillenial Dispensationalists and Amillenialists. Likewise they include Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans and Wiccans and I think even a few believers in the Klingon God Kahless. Also represented are heterosexuals and homosexuals, anti-homosexual activist and pro-homosexual activists, pro-lifers and pro-choicers, militarists and pacifists, capitalists, socialists, environmentalists, industrialists; progressives, traditionalists, white, black, Asian and Hispanic, people from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Korea, Japan and China, India, and Central America, Mississippi and Manhattan, California and Carolina, Dallas and Detroit. Doctors, lawyers, priests, rabbis and imams; Protestant ministers, labor leaders, teachers, preachers, pundits, poets, politicians, professors and prosecutors; nurses, doctors, scientists; actors, musicians and artists; bureaucrats, technocrats, kleptocrats; geeks, freaks, sailors, jailers, whalers, runners, gunners, fighters, riders, sky divers, scuba divers, truck drivers; guitar players, ball players, naysayers; free thinkers, beer drinkers, thrill seekers and Methodists. I have to admit that I stole the Methodist line from Harvey Korman in Blazing Saddles.
“There is nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends.”
~ Hillaire Belloc
It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.
Saint Thomas Aquinas
In all of this, each one of this diverse including you all in your own way are my friend, some closer than others, but friends none the less. We have shared good times and bad, encouraged each other prayed for each other, laughed together, cried together and even shared some good beer with each other. We’ve agreed and disagreed, and agreed to disagree. Yet we are all friends and each of you has added something to my life. I think Jesus said it well, when he said, “I no longer call you strangers but friends.”