The evidence of friendship is a lack of self-interest. It seeks only the joy and satisfaction of the beloved. So few of us understand friendship as an act of worship. Worship of the overwhelming oceanic love which resides within us all, as the center of our very being, which has no choice but to cover everything it sees, hears, touches, tastes and feels. It has no motive but to celebrate the evidence of its omnipresence.
Friendship as it is commonly practiced is a purely mutually agreed (unspoken) retail relationship: “You are in my life worthy of my attention and love as long as you satisfy my agenda, cater to my needs and wants and I’ll do the same for you.” This might seem callously sceptical and quite possibly a difficult pill to swallow, but when we strip away the habitual rituals of sentimentality and look really hard at the bones of the relationships which have meant most to us we see some evidence of this quid pro quo dynamic at play. It is the child which wants the reassurance and undeniable evidence of the to and fro, the call and response of the parental relationship, and it is a very human need and response to want that sense of equal reciprocity in all our relationships. The difficulty comes when we insist that this satisfaction of need be in the form of the “world-out-there”where we are always seeking an “other” (relationship, job, new car, new belief etc. etc.) to fill the inchoate existential need which nothing “out there” can ultimately fill. All that’s out-there fills the definition of neither being totally unreal, nor being totally real.
It’s a God-sized hole in the center of the human condition that only God can fill.
It has been said that we humans have no clue what love is. Our self-narrative keeps us insulated from the divine.
Until love universal has possessed us and claimed every aspect of our being, overwhelming us with its unimaginable capacity to hold everything without exception in its fierce unrelenting embrace, burning us free from clinging to the littleness of personality and its narrative of limitation, we will never be gifted with the only gift we can ever truly receive. This gift is to see this world, all its people, places and things, especially the “me” that feels “lonely or abandoned, unlovable, unforgivable, filled with existential dread, worrying about an imaginary future that will never arrive, and feeling weighed down by the detritus of a mortal past”, seeing all that through the opened door of universal love.
Until we have let the bubble of “me” pop we will never be able to receive the unearned grace of divine sufficiency to love all without cost or effort.
“Love all. Love none.”