“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.” ― Albert Camus
Several times today I have caught myself thinking about friends and the blessings each of them are as individuals and as a group. Last night, in the spur of the moment, one of them decided to have at least one more fire this season (pictured above.) We had a bit of a cool snap yesterday (dry air, high in the 70’s). So last night as the temps fell through the 60’s toward the 50’s, a fire + friends = perfect.
This same friend said, “You know what we have here is truly unique. We have a great mix of people, giftings, and personalities.” I agree.
I can’t remember exactly, but I think I have been a part of this particular group for about 7 or 8 years … has it been 9? There are many reasons I love this group. One reason that comes to mind is that it isn’t a typical programmatic “church” group with the constant pressure to multiple/expand/divide/multiply/expand/divide, work through a structured bible study, and so on. We all come to it as peers. There is no pressure to create or contrive activity; no pressure to increase our numbers. It isn’t about anything other than just being friends sharing a good meal twice a month, and hanging out when the mood hits.
Over time a closeness has developed. However, that closeness hasn’t been contrived or manipulated. It’s not needy or about someone trying to get “their needs” met. It has developed naturally as we simply share life together. To be sure, there are times when we ‘need’ each other more. We all have seasons we need more support or feedback through difficult times. However with this group, it isn’t a “support group” dynamic like many church groups feel they have to be.
I hope that makes sense.
Of course we talk about spiritual concerns, current affairs, our families, dreams, hopes, projects, … all of it …but we talk about it as it happens, naturally.
I told a couple of the guys who were around pretty late last night, as the fire was dying down, that over the past few years I have had some serious pressures (by other people, groups) to abandon one camp and join another to prove this or that. There was also incredible pressure to abandon the various aspects of God that I have fallen deeply in love with (i.e. grace, personal identity.) Being able to be with these friends, who truly are a spiritual family now, has been a very grounding and life-affirming anchor. Probably more than they know. I deeply appreciate it.
Gratitude for these friends has found its way into much of my day today.