This statue of a circle of friends with their arms linked stands on the table on our screened porch. It is a constant reminder of the blessing of friends, and how important it is to stay linked together through all the changes of life. Behind the statue in the picture you can see colorful prayer flags, which are another reminder to remain linked through heart-felt prayer with loved ones. I have already had occasion to sit at this table with friends in the flesh, whose love and support have helped me flourish in many ways. Their faces, their smiles, their wise or funny words, their open-hearted sharing, all come to mind when I walk by the table and this statue on my way into the living room or out to the deck. And my heart fills with gratitude for the friends I am blessed with.
It is said that our friends mirror aspects of ourselves, often unrecognized by us. That's why we are drawn to them. Perhaps they have qualities we admire and would like to have more of ourselves. Always, they are our teachers, whether or not they know it.
It is interesting to me that friendship is a universal thing in all cultures, whatever forms it may take. I am struck by the fact that one of my favorite poets, Rumi, will sometimes refer to God as "The Friend." Certainly in his life, the friendship of a roving spiritual teacher had a huge, life-changing impact. It might have been that his friend opened him up to his ecstatic experiences of "The Friend." What a friend!