Letter to a Friend

by Melannie Svoboda SND on July 30, 2018

(Note: August 5, 2019 is National Friendship Day. With that in mind, I wrote this letter. I had several friends in mind when I wrote it. Maybe a friend or two of yours might come to mind as you read it.)

Dear Friend,

You are easy to love. What you are on the outside is what you are in the inside. There’s no need for me to guess, decipher, worry, fear, hedge. You are “without pleat” (which is the etymology of the word simple).

You are easy to love. That’s because you know so well how to love: by being honest and thoughtful… by doing little favors with no fuss… by allowing me to do little favors for you… by being interested in what’s going on in my life… by knowing my failings first hand, but accepting them patiently. You don’t back down when I am strong but wrong. You encourage me to speak when I am weak but right. You give me wise counsel not in a torrent of words, but most often through the example of your own living.

This figurine by Willow Tree is called “Heart and Soul.” It was given to me by a friend and it sits in my prayer corner.

Friend, you are easy to love. I used to think that loving someone as much as I love you would be a major feat—or at least a strain. But no, loving you comes almost naturally. Our friendship is not so much an accomplishment as it is a gift.

You are easy to love, for you listen to me, not merely with your ears but with your heart. You give me another way of looking at things—often a better way. You laugh with me. You cry with me. You sit in silence with me. You aren’t afraid to say “I don’t know” when you don’t know. That humble admission makes it easier for me to accept the uncertainties, ambiguities, and mysteries of life.

You are easy to love. You give me permission to get angry. You allow me to be sad or to gush with joy and excitement. You give me a safe place to process this thing called living.

You are easy to love. You pray for me. You sometimes pray with me. Knowing you talk to God every day encourages me to talk to God every day too. And I do—sometimes even about you.

And finally, dear friend, one of the greatest gifts you give me is this: you like being with me. What greater compliment could you give me? You like my company… my presence. In short, you like me. And in doing that, you make it easier for me to believe that maybe—just maybe—God likes me too.

The old song says, “Thank you for being a friend.” But I say, thank you for being my friend!

Love, Me

 

Does anything here resonate with your experience of friendship? If so, what?

Is there anything you would add to this reflection?

What qualities do you treasure in your friends?

PS: It’s summertime! So I’m taking a little vacation from my blog—and taking a little extra time with friends! So, there will be no new post next Monday August 6. You can always scan the archives and reread a previous post, if you want. There are over 300 to choose from! My next post will be Monday, August 13. Meanwhile, I hope you’re enjoying summer too—if you live in the northern hemisphere, that is! To my dear Australian, South American, and South African readers, spring is coming!

There are many songs about friendship. I chose Michael W. Smith’s “Friends Are Friends Forever.” Even though it’s about having to say goodbye to a friend, it’s a beautiful reminder of our oneness with and in God.

 

What are you thinking and feeling today? Please share below:

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

John Hopkins July 30, 2018 at 5:25 am

Good morning, Melannie! Thank you for this wonderful letter to a friend about friendship. It was beautiful, wise, and true. Reading it made me think of the Celtic idea of the “soul mate,” the anam cara, that person who gives you a safe space to be your authentic self. Friendship these days is an underrated idea, especially the richness of it. Enjoy your break being with those who are lucky to have you as a friend.

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Rose Anne July 30, 2018 at 7:11 am

Beautiful letter. My dear friends are family to me.They are truly gifts from God. I don’t know what my life would be without them.

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Carol McHenry July 30, 2018 at 7:20 am

I think friendship is the greatest gift we can give & receive. That’s why Jesus holds each of us friend. Thank you Melannie!

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Denise July 30, 2018 at 7:20 am

Oh My!
God does use us to minister to one another. Just yesterday after mass I passed on going with friends to breakfast and told myself I am really too busy for friends these days. I was ready to forgo friendships forged fifty or more years ago because I have grandchildren and my children now have GREAT need of my expert whatever with unfettered access…LOL
Thank you Sr. Melannie for reminding me of the greatness of friends and shining a proper light on this fun house of life where I look at myself in distorted mirrors and believe THAT’s reality. Oh what a goose I am !!!

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Tina July 30, 2018 at 7:22 am

Sr Melannie, as usual you have made me stop and think! What a wise reflection on friends. It reminds me of how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends. I don’t know what I would do without them. Enjoy your time next week.

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Diane July 30, 2018 at 8:48 am

Lovely thought Sr Melanie. Friends are essential to.life.

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Pamela Kestner July 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

As I read this, I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in Indianapolis, waiting to be picked up by a friend Ive had for 50 years! We only see each other every couple years, but we’ve managed to stay in touch, in spite of moves, marriages, children, grandchildren. What a blessing a friend is!

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Regina July 30, 2018 at 9:37 am

Melannie, thanks so much for your beautiful words on FRIENDS! So true! Friends help to mold us who we are and can become, with God’s hand in it, for sure.
Have a wonderful vacation and gets lots of sunshine and love from our God and your FRIENDS. Blessings,

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Ryan July 30, 2018 at 10:15 am

What a beautiful and complete “Ode” to friends and friendship. I feel lucky to have some friendships that feel exactly like that – with both other women and with a couple of men. I am so grateful for the gifts we give each other – the greatest and most precious one – Time and Presence. I think the only thing I would add to your letter would be: One of the healing joys of friendship is seeing my authentic goodness, worthiness, and beauty being reflected back to me via the love energy and connection I feel with my friends and I hope and believe that I reflect those same qualities of theirs back to them. Happy Vacation!

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Rosemary July 30, 2018 at 10:38 am

Melannie, your blog reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “Friends are God’s way of taking really good care of us.” Thank you for reminding us of the strong and tender qualities of a God-friend. Aren’t we privileged to have God use us to prove His love for our friends!

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Jean July 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

Good Morning Sister Melannie.
Wow, so powerful and so meaningful.
Nancy and I were next door neighbors from day one. I was 19 days older and our Mom’s were best friends. Great years, they were.
Nancy passed away when we were 58 years old. She was everything you described in your letter and I miss her every day. I just hope I was the same to her.
Thank you so much for your letter.
Enjoy your vacation.

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Karen July 30, 2018 at 12:42 pm

Your letter is beautiful, and reminds me of one of my very favorite quotes about friendship (written by Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik (1826-1887)):
Oh, the comfort—
The inexpressible comfort of feeling
safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words—but pouring them
All right out—just as they are—
Chaff and grain together—
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them—
Keep what is worth keeping—
and with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away.

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Joanne Bennardo July 30, 2018 at 9:37 pm

Dear Sister Melannie,
Thank you very much for this morning’s beautiful reflection. It stayed with me throughout the day. Coincidence regarding friends happened though as well today. I will call it God’s serendipity. Let me explain.

After reading your blog this morning, I readied myself for a doctor’s appointment. After the appointment, I decided to stop quickly at a restaurant for a quick bite before continuing with my other errands.
After I had eaten, the waitress came by my table and said, “A friend has picked up your check today, so you are all set to go!” I was so astonished that I couldn’t find the words to question her.
My initial thought was a kind stranger had given me a gift of a random act of kindness. I said a silent prayer for them aware that God was speaking to me through others.
Later, I realized the waitress had used the word “friend.” She hadn’t said that the kind gesture was random at all. Did I not see one of my friends in the crowded restaurant?
Finally, I concluded that I will never know if the “friend” who paid for my meal is someone I know or don’t know. But what I do know is that we, as all of God’s children, are friends to one another, whether we have formally met is but an unnecessary ritual.
God chose a typical Monday within ordinary circumstances to bring His Joy to me through one of His friends who made him/herself my friend too. I thank God for that and if by His coincidence that person is reading this blog, I thank them for being His messenger of Love.
May God bless you, friends.

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Thomas D July 31, 2018 at 7:17 pm

I have a pair of cherished friends, each of whom knows more about me than God does. OK, that’s hyperbole. But why are we so often more comfortable with our friends than with God?

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Annie August 10, 2018 at 12:31 am

Congratulations on more than 300 blog posts! And thank you for being a friend!

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Annie August 10, 2018 at 12:31 am

Congratulations on more than 300 blog posts! And thank you for being my friend!

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