friendship

Rethinking Fraternal Correction

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another
— Proverbs 27:17

These words have inspired countless groups of friends to band together for the sake of accountability, to help each other grow in virtue, and to root out vice.  Speech has always played a key part in this process.  St. Thomas Aquinas speaks of this type of speech, labeling it fraternal correction.  It is the process of honing a friend through difficult conversations, pointing out their flaws/sins with the purpose of finding a solution to help them build up that weakened area, all through the lens of charity. Fraternal correction also has a reciprocal nature.  When one friends offers a correction, he is opening himself up to correction from his friend in return.  And in part through that exchange, each friend helps the other become more united to the person of Christ.  At least that’s the ideal.

But in the messy world of fallen human relationships, the best things can be twisted into occasions of sin, and our speech is an exceptional example of that.  “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:7-9).

I want to take a more serious tone with this article as I address that and offer some suggestions for how we can improve our approach to fraternal correction.  It’s a fine art.  We’ve all done it well and we’ve all done it poorly.  I’m certain that past experiences of both are running through your head as you read this, bringing a smile to you face or redness to your cheeks.

Let us turn to St. Thomas for some advice in how to offer fraternal correction. You can follow this link to read the text of the Summa on the topic.  This article is just a summary and some practical applications of his writing, given to me by a friend and spiritual director.  

First, here are some general guidelines:

  1. Phariseeism is a dangerous vice.  It comes across as well-intentioned, but deep down there is a temptation for us to look down our noses at others.  To keep this vice at bay in us lay folk St. Thomas distinguishes between two types of correction.  (1) A formal correction comes from the prelates of the Church, the bishops.  They are handed the burden of safeguarding the faith.  Think of the bishops writing letters to politicians, clarifying the faith in councils and addressing heresy.  It is an authoritarian correction from the heart of a shepherd.  (2) An informal correction or a friendly reminder (literally what he calls it, but in Latin) or a horizontal correction.  This is the correction proper to us.  We’re reminding a friend, not handing down some type of punishment.

  2. Prudence needs to dictate our conversations.  They need to be done at the right time and place so that they are well-received and fruitful.  We also need to exercise prudence in our own intentions, making sure that they are holy and worthy.  We’ve all waded into a “correction out of love” with someone that was just a veiled form of verbal abuse.  Prudence and discretion helps us avoid this.

  3. The person has to be wrong, AKA moral matter is involved.  A friend is caught in pattern of sin and we desire to pull that from the darkness out into the light.  Wits this consideration, we have to keep in mind that many people aren’t well-catechized.  Sometimes a good catechesis is needed from someone with the heart of a teacher instead of a correction.  Also, make sure that you are discerning whether someone is headed the wrong way rather than just not doing things your way.  

  4. There needs to be a reasonable chance of success.  You’re not bound to offer a correction that won’t be received well.  But we also have to vigilant that we are bold enough to offer a correction when needed and not use this piece of advice as a way out when it’s warranted.  Remember our prayers go further than our words.  Pray always for your friends and enemies, correct only when it is beneficial to do so.

  5. Don’t be a hypocrite.  If you are going to correct someone for something, it better not be something you are guilty of yourself.  Instead you can bring your own struggle to your friend, or pray that the Lord help heal you from that struggle and applies the grace of that suffering to your friend who struggles too.

  6. Always give correction gently.  It’s a friendly reminder, folks, and oftentimes your friend already knows it’s a struggle.  Verbal lashing will usually cause a recoil, which will add sin to sin and make the situation worse.  A gentle but firm tongue is vital in these crucial conversations.

Now on top of this fraternal correction we have an airing of grievances.  These are things that aren’t serious matter, but for the sake of your friendship, are worth bringing up.  It’s actually healing to tell you messy spouse or roommate that they’re a slob (in a gentle tone of course) and to invite those around you to air their grievances as weLl from time to time.  It’s all part of being in relationship. This type of conversation gets a bad wrap, but when people are elbow to elbow, up in each others’ business, it gets messy sometimes.  Let the mess out a bit.  Not all the time, but when appropriate.

Three more quick notes:

Kill the sarcasm.  Sarcasm means “tearing of flesh”.  It is a weak, hurtful form of verbal abuse when we don’t have enough charity in our hearts to be vulnerable and empathetic.  It exists to wound others when it’s employed in this type of conversation.  

Second, talk to each other rather than about each other.  We’ve all been a part of so many conversations that we have about people who aren’t present “out of love” for that person.  That’s backbiting (check out this convicting little treatise if you want to know more about that), and it is a form of murder- assassination of character and reputation.  Fr. Belet says that “[b]ackbiting is eminently destructive, for it robs a man of what is most precious to him: his reputation.”  “A good name is more desirable than riches” (Prov 22:1).  Never say anything about anyone that you haven’t said or don’t intend to say to their face, but instead do everything you can to hold up others’ reputations without regard for your own.

Lastly there is venting.  Sometimes we need to vent and get some correction ourselves or guidance for how we should say something to someone (I.e “This is driving me nuts and I don’t know what to do about it”).  The subject of our venting should be us:  how we’re feeling, what is bothering me and why I think it’s rubbing me the wrong way, etc.  That can be legitimate, but use it sparingly.  I frequently end up in the confessional when I’m not careful with this one.

In summary:

“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.” (Eph. 4:29)
Friendship is messy but filled with grace, and our conversations often are the exact same way.  But with hearts intent on imparting grace (and a readiness to apologize when we don’t quite hit that aim) we should feel more emboldened to wade into the messiness of an authentic conversation with a friend and truly let our friendships and speech become like iron honing iron.

Love: The True Purpose of Community

Four years and two months ago I moved to Kansas City  from St. Paul, MN. In St. Paul I had the best friends I could have ever imagined. It was really hard to move away knowing that I wasn’t going to be easily and instantly surrounded by “my people” - people that knew me and really got me. And, worst of all, if you’re like me and have a propensity to tell really lame jokes, a new environment comes with many uncertainties. In St. Paul I had relationships that mattered to me: relationships where I could simultaneously just be myself and work on the more selfish and stubborn parts of myself. When I got to Kansas City, I didn’t know exactly what to expect and I spent the first few months just going to work and not really getting to know anyone else. After that, my life changed again when I started meeting in a small group with some guys and started getting really close to some of them. Now, once again, there were people who knew me, accepted me, but also challenged me to improve and wanted me to be the person I was created to be.

I bonded with these guys and eventually some really great girl friends and I started to experience the kind of community I left in St. Paul. Both the St. Paul community and the community in KC changed me and I encountered people - when I was vulnerable enough to have real conversations - that gave me new experiences and insight that I had never had before. Now in KC a lot of the friends I made at first have gotten married or our lives have taken us in different directions. But they still impacted and changed me nonetheless because I was vulnerable and accountable to real friends that truly knew and cared for my growth as a person and disciple of Christ. Over the past year, I’ve been getting to know a new set of friends that have become a new community for me. Every year continues to be the best year of my life because every year I know people that know me, accept me and my lame jokes, and want me to be better than I am currently. All of this is because over and over God blesses us with the people we need to have authentic community by giving us relationships that truly matter.

With relationships that truly matter comes a series of experiences we thought we could never have. We enjoy a new type of happiness that is ultimately satisfying a natural inclination found deep in the way we are wired. I’m not talking about the short-term pleasure-kind of happiness, but a deep and lasting sense of “this is who I am and where I belong.” In these kinds of relationships there is a peace that says “all is right with the world when I’m with these people.” Now, it is absolutely certain that - in this life - no one will ever experience that type of contentment all of the time. But, if we don’t have it some of the time, we may need to reevaluate the depth and significance of our relationships.

Without a deeper type of community, we are left to conversations with people that are simply a kind of fleeting pleasure in themselves. If you’re like me, it’s fun to enjoy a conversation that doesn’t really matter - that doesn’t actually influence my life or their life in any significant way. There are conversations to be had that are pleasant, but not important. Pleasant conversations are fine most of the time, and I am certainly not advocating for every conversation to be super deep. But if we only have pleasant conversations, soon enough we will realize that the true purpose of community is not being realized in our lives.

Like the two greatest commandments, there are two places this deep and satisfying community is found: God and others. Jesus says, “Come to me you who are burdened and I will give you rest.” What gives us rest? Going to Jesus and having communion with him. If we go to Jesus with our burdens, he wants to be our community. He wants to be the place we go to say that all is right with the world. At some of the hardest times in my life, I found this to be especially true about adoration. We were made for God’s love. Without Jesus as our first and most important relationship, we will always strive and struggle to find some finite thing to fill the void in us that longs for an infinite kind of community. In terms of others, we find that the deepest kind of community participates in and reflects our relationship with God. We get to know people that we share our lives with. People that, practically speaking, know everything about us because we become vulnerable with and accountable to them. People whose presence we enjoy and people who truly want what is best for us.

So what is the true goal of authentic community? In the course of our lives, community is important for many reasons. It’s a place where we find understanding, belonging, joy, kindness, compassion but also honesty, candor, and challenges from people that come from genuine concern for our well-being. But ultimately, the most important reason for community is love. It is a place we receive love, where we give love, and the primary school of formation for a life of love lived for God and others. In the context of our relationships, love - the true purpose of community - has a chance to be cultivated.

Because love is choosing the good of others even at the risk of our own detriment, we cannot grow in love without others. And ultimately this is important for our salvation because true holiness and sainthood is found in the perfection of love, first for God then for others. So how does community teach us love? It’s easy to see in the day to day course of life that our friendships give a chance to enjoy others’ sense of humor, abilities, talents, different ways of thinking, different unique purposes, etc. But what they should really give us is that place of belonging. But not simply in helping us be comfortable though. (Insert dramatic music in your mind here.The universe needs each and everyone of us to become who we were created to be. You are the only you in the world. You are the only you that has ever existed and will ever exist. There’s is something you bring to the universe that no one else ever has, ever will, or ever can. We do this by learning how to love with every fiber of our being. When we know ourselves: our gifts, strengths, our deepest desires we begin to learn our personal mission in the world, but no matter who you are the goal is to be truly you while learning to love to the best of your ability.

Since we all have shortcomings and failures and we all need to strive to improve, community is so important because it is our school of formation for the most important adventure of our lives. What adventure am I talking about? The key adventure of life: Learning to love. We all struggle to love God as well as we should and we all struggle to love others as well as we should. In community we have role models of love, we are challenged and encouraged to love better, but also we have relationships with the very people we are called to love.

In the end, there’s a difference between knowing that the point of community is love and actually choosing to live it. For me, the gap is often wider than I recognize. And I have a lot of work to do. Nonetheless, nothing less than heaven is our goal and, when we have true love in our hearts, we will want to bring as many people with us as we can. With love, we strive to become what God has created us to be, first for him and then for others. We often struggle seeing ourselves without biased, but you can bet your friends - the ones that truly know you - know some of your shortcomings even better than you. In my life, from St. Paul to Kansas City, I’ve had friends who see parts of me clearer than I do. The ones that truly love me challenge me to become better, and one day maybe even a saint. Looking around me, however, I see people all over who are deprived of true community that teaches men and women how to truly love. When you find yourself in this situation, take aim to find friends with which you can be vulnerable and accountable, friends that truly challenge you to better yourself become who you were created to be: a man or woman who loves well in every circumstance.

3 Reasons to Write a Letter. On Paper.

When I interviewed for my current job, I was given a book. The Journey of our Love is a collection of letters, notes, and postcards exchanged between St. Gianna Beretta Molla and her husband Pietro.

The letters are not only a beautiful record of their lives together (in everything from heartfelt romantic sentiments to a list of items to bring from home when Pietro joins his family on vacation), but is also a testament to the joy and adventure of a pen and paper correspondence. Whether to a family member, a friend, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or a husband or wife, there is something particularly sweet about words you have waited days, or even weeks, to read. There is something special about a piece of paper someone took the time to fill in order to share a piece of their life with you.

Even after the telephone became a part of daily life, Pietro and St. Gianna continued to write to each other whenever they were apart. Their letters were treasured not only by them, but also by their children after they were gone, as a testament to the love of their parents. And now, as a book, they offer the world an inside look at a love that was always moving towards God.

There is nothing wrong with modern means of communication (I love being able to chat with friends and family, or just let a friend know I am praying for her with a quick text), but nevertheless, here are three reasons that you should write a letter anyways.

 

1)   It is both authentic solitude and authentic communion  

 

When you sit down to write a letter, you aren’t with the person you are communicating with. The fact that they can’t respond, they don’t even know what you’ve said, until the words are (literally) far from your pen, makes the experience one where you can really spend time in your own head and heart, getting to know yourself. At the same time, writing a letter is, by it’s nature, communal. It brings two people, who are (usually) geographically distant together, and reminds us that even when we are alone, our loved ones are always with us.

 

 

2)   It reminds us to slow down.

 

It takes time to write a letter. Between the time to sort through your thoughts and understand what you want to say and the time it takes to actually put those words down on paper, even a short letter deserves a few moments of peace and quiet. When we take the time, however, that spirit is not only manifested in our own hearts, but becomes a part of what you send to your loved ones.

 

3)   Handwriting is awesome.

We are made to be creative. And our hearts are naturally moved by beauty. Of course there is the chance to arrange words beautifully in many mediums, digital or otherwise. But there is a chance in a letter to communicate not only in what you write, but how you write it. Even chicken scratches that require a deciphering tool can say something endearing about the author (even if it is simultaneously frustrating...). Whether you are a master calligrapher or you just slow down long enough to make the letter legible, whether you prefer glittery purple or classic black ink, plain white copy paper or vintage stationary… there is so much more to a letter than the words you write. It is a chance to express so much more of yourself than a text or email, and that alone is beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 Steps to Creating Community That Matters

Recently a close friend was helping with a retreat at his parish. He told me about two old friends of thirty years who have been in the same parish and who have even been members of the Knights of Columbus for longer than I’ve been alive. On this retreat, he witnessed these two friends discover things about each other’s past that deeply affect who both of these men have become. Neither one had ever known these things before. Good job, Parish Retreat! But what ever happened to real life?! Deep friendships and relationships are difficult to find and maintain in a world that settles for such quick modes of communication. Like the ones that involve fleeting forms of affirmation via a “like” button or “thumbs up” emoji. I know it is definitely true for me, and I think most people can relate. We have friends, but those deep, authentic friends that really make a difference in our lives and the lives of others are scarce today.

Imagine a world, a community, a Church where people know each other a different plane, maybe even one we have yet to envision. Imagine knowing someone’s important life events, aspirations, and abilities so well that you can begin to predict their choices, successes, and failures. Imagine someone who will open up to you in an instant and lean on your listening, love, and insight because they know you and they know you care deeply. Imagine always having people that you can also lean on in all kinds of ways for every circumstance. Imagine living a life of adventure and significance, a life that matters in this life and even into eternity alongside people you’re this close to. Imagine a Church with communities of deep friendship that reach out to more people and draw them into this deep community of authentic love.

Granted human realities are messier than what has been described above. Still we cannot neglect the fact that our nature, described all the way back in the philosophy of Aristotle, is imprinted and inclined to have this kind of friendship and community. We settle, not just in packs like wolves, but in great big cities, and even small towns, alongside people totally unrelated by blood and depend on each other for our physical needs, emotional cares and concerns, for laughter, entertainment, and love. In the end, even if we don’t create perfect communities and friendships, having 3 to 5 deep, meaningful—though imperfect—friendships will be much more fulfilling, and hopefully adventurous, than having a hundred shallow friendships. The point of this article is not to present anything new, but rather to demonstrate that authentic community is very much possible if we apply ourselves to some basic principles that are really natural to everyone. So, with that, here are four steps to getting the ball rolling on community that matters:

1)     Have conversations that matter 

I made the mistake the other night of coming up to someone and asking them, “Hey, what’s new?” Even before this conversation, I’ve catalogued in my brain that this is not a good question to initiate worthwhile conversations. The problem is that it is too generic and broad of a question. A better, more simplified starter question is the more specific: “How is your day going?” or “How has your week been?” These questions are more important because they are specific and they get people thinking about the present; they open the door to the here and now for you and that person. As they are answering, listen for either what the person is passionate about or for what challenges or struggles they may be encountering recently. Talk about what really matters to that person and be vulnerable. One reason people feel alone today is because there are so few people in the world that actually know who they really are. It’s not that you have to open your heart to everyone you meet, but being willing to share things that can be disagreed with or things you are feeling is necessary to having relationships that matter. That is truly the starting point to creating community: genuine people having genuine conversation. The point of this step isn’t so much how to have these conversations, but it’s more about being open and ready to have conversations that matter with people more often. Granted there will be times when we are not capable of these conversations because we are exhausted or emotionally compromised for whatever reason. In the end the reality still remains that we won’t have community that matters until we begin to have more conversations that matter.

2)     Establish relationships that matter

Having a conversation that matters should lead to more conversations that matter. Multiple significant conversations lead to the beginning of significant relationships. These can be with coworkers, parishioners, friends of friends, anyone we encounter regularly either naturally or intentionally. At some point, to be a friendship or relationship that truly matters intentional encounters will take place between you and the other: grabbing coffee, lunch, dinner, a beer, taking a road trip, getting together for some good opportunities for conversation on purpose. This is the natural next step from having some good conversations. If you make a habit of having conversations about what you’re passionate about, what a life of adventure looks like, and what failures and struggles you’ve encountered along the way, you are on your way to becoming friends.

3)     Do something that matters together

A word people sometimes find “cute” or kind of “fun” is the word adventure. Like, “OoooOOOOooh! We’re going on an adventure!” It is a word I’ve used a number of times in this post already. A lot of times when we hear that word we think of doing something adventurous like hiking through the mountains, skydiving, cliff diving, bungee jumping, swimming with sharks, spelunking, or parkour. But when I use the word adventure I mean the adventure of your life in its entirety. All of the things in the above list are just small possibilities of the macrocosm that is your real adventure. Your life is meant to be amazing. You are the only you to ever exist and who will ever exist in the history of the universe. You were made to be something that matters. You were meant to have authentic friendships that matter to others, and even change their lives. You were made to be a part of a community that matters. “Doing something” that matters doesn’t necessarily mean a certain activity. It could just mean being that real good friend, talking in depth about reality, and perhaps inviting others into those relationships. These kinds of relationships bring authentic joy and that kind of joy is contagious. People will see how you joke and laugh but also how you deeply care and appreciate each other. This step could also mean literally “doing something” that directly makes a difference in people’s lives, both for this world and the next. In the end, true community will be solidified when we choose to live the adventure of our lives alongside others.

4)     Always being open to new people and new relationships

Once we have friendships that really matter to us, sometimes it’s easy to want to cling on to them as firmly as possible. One thing that will always make for an adventure is realizing that your friendships will change. Even if you stay in the same city your whole life, the people around you will change. We should be always open to starting at step 1, having conversations that matter, whenever it is possible. You never know whose life you change or who will change your life. Your life is an adventure. I know we can’t always be open to others, but being open to others as much as possible will increase the experience of our life’s adventure. We live in a world that is so quick in its modes of communication (and trust me I’m the #1 user of my phone for these modes of communication), but sometimes it’s nice to have a reminder that building relationships and community can be simple. We just have to put in the work of having real conversations and being intentional about pursuing friendships instead of just waiting for them to happen to us. We can become the kind of people that make friendships happen. We can offer the gift of friendship to others around us. We can live lives of adventure for others. Simply invest in real conversations, be willing to be vulnerable, and let who you are be a gift to others in the world around you.

Time and Eternity in Community

Time and Eternity in Community

The power of our soul allows us to connect in an immediate way, a way not contingent on time or material cause and effect. God encounters us with no hesitation and no delay, God’s presence is in the truest sense of the word ‘immediate’. Likewise it is not merely a biological process when we find deep intimacy with another person. There is a real and tangible connectedness with another person on a spiritual level that is transcendent.

Freedom In Friendship

 

 

The Catholic Beer Club, a name containing three things I love the most, the Church, Beer, and Community… all kidding aside, I am so happy to be writing here for the first time! It is my sincere wish that in these few words you find some inspiration, encouragement, and maybe a few laughs. Each of our lives is full of many experiences, some humorous, others tragic, some even glorious or of deep sorrow, yet each and every experience is intertwined with the lives and experiences of other men. I realize this is an obvious statement, but it’s one that bears reflecting upon. Who is accompanying me through life? Who am I accompanying? It is only when we take a moment to reflect that we realize what we need.

I think that you would agree that life is so much richer when lived in friendship; when laughter can be shared and sorrows borne together! A few months before I was married, a good friend and I went backcountry camping.  One experience in particular stands out to me from that trip. We woke early in the morning and sat on the edge of the mountain watching the sun spread its warm, orange and red glow across the sky. We prayed and talked for an hour before breakfast sharing in the beauty of the moment. It was an impactful moment of heart to heart conversation and openness where I realized the incredible blessing of true, deep friendship. Deep in each of our souls is the burning desire to be loved and to give love.  However, it is so easy for us to stay on a surface level in our relationships. It is more expedient to send a quick text message or to browse Twitter or Instagram to see how ‘so and so’ is doing rather than to give them a call or get together. Surface level interaction comfortable as it is, is not sufficient and cannot fill the deep desire of our hearts. We often follow the example of Adam and Eve doing our best to find ‘love’ wherever we are able except where we were meant to find it! So where do we go from here? How do we find and live those rich, choice friendships that bring such great vibrancy and joy to this life?

The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle, wrote about three types of friends, those of utility, pleasure, and of virtue or excellence. I think most of the world has experienced friendships of utility and pleasure, neither of which is inherently bad. In brief, a friendship of utility is one where one or both parties benefit from the relationship with the other. For example, this sort of friendship could exist between businessmen who benefit from each other’s services. In a friendship of pleasure, one or both parties experience fun or pleasure from interacting with the other. Book club members, kayaking buddies, or jogging partners could be an example of such a friendship. Both of these friendships are good and while they can certainly play a role, neither will be sufficient in assisting one to achieve excellence. The excellent life or the good life is the most esteemed and fulfilling life according to Aristotle. This life is only possible with the help of virtuous or ‘perfect’ friendships. Aristotle writes,

“Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other… and they are good themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends;” (Nichomachean Ethics, Book VIII, #3)

It is safe to say that all of us, whether we realize it or not, desire to have friends who are good and wish well to us for our own sake. A friendship where each wishes the other well is one where both friends are open and honest with each other. This type of friendship is difficult because it is humbling to have a ‘truth-teller’ in our life who demands we fight against hypocrisy and keeping our weaknesses hidden. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,” (Proverbs 27:17). I think the question we need to ask ourselves is, “Am I willing to be that sort of friend to someone else? Am I willing to sharpen and be sharpened by this relationship? Recall the parable in Scripture when Jesus talks about removing the plank from one’s own eye before removing the speck from your brother’s eye; I am an expert at finding the speck in someone else’s eye and yet a mere novice at removing or even seeing the plank in my own! I have discovered that clinging to such an attitude makes it quite difficult to build virtuous friendships. On the other hand virtuous friendships help me to see my weaknesses and to grow in those areas.

Personally, I have only in the last few years experienced friendships of virtue and they have and are still changing my life. Two friendships I have invested in are with my college roommate and of course with my beloved wife. For years I was more concerned about what others thought about me than anything else. My actions were based upon what I perceived others to think of me. What slavery that was and yet what freedom has come from investing in true friendship! I think we live in an age ripe for an explosion of true, deep friendships, yet most of us live under a shadow of fear that keeps us from experiencing true friendship because such friendships are far from comfortable. They require vulnerability, selflessness, seeking the good of the other, sacrifice, and seeing myself as I truly am. However, because of that such friendships also bring about freedom, confidence, trust, joy, laughter, growth, and seeing whom one can and will be. I have grown more in a year and a half of marriage than my whole life before combined. The fruit of that growth is much more joy and freedom than I have ever experienced!

I hope that you too will experience such friendships, truly seeking the good of the other and growing together into the best versions of yourselves. It can be quite comfortable to stay in our routines, to go to the same places, spend time with the same people, and remain the same person, but there is such adventure and freedom in becoming who we are meant to be, fulfilling our unrealized potential! Are you willing to risk something to have brothers or sisters who will love you for you? Amazing things happen when we step outside of our comfort zones and share our dreams, prayers, and hearts with a friend. Invest time with those who better you. Spend time sitting at the feet of those you admire to learn from them. Grab a beer, or a scotch if that’s your preference, and get to know yourself by getting to know a true friend. Be patient for friendship takes root slowly, like a fine wine takes time to age, but have hope because true friendship is life changing. I’ll leave you with words from the great Aristotle which are still so relevant today.

“But it is natural that such friendships should be infrequent; for such men are rare. Further, such friendship requires time and familiarity; as the proverb says, men cannot know each other till they have 'eaten salt together'; nor can they admit each other to friendship or be friends till each has been found lovable and been trusted by each. Those who quickly show the marks of friendship to each other wish to be friends, but are not friends unless they both are lovable and know the fact; for a wish for friendship may arise quickly, but friendship does not.” (Nichomachean Ethics Book VIII, #3)


I think that is enough to ponder for now, but we’ll revisit this next time and talk about what these friendships can look like and reflect on various aspects of community and friendship including authenticity, humility, conversation, and ‘eating salt together’. Cheers!