Friday, 3 May 2013

Friendship

On Thursday evening, May 2nd, I was with my dear friends Ron and Charlotte Thompson who live in the Gulf Gate area of SRQ.  I met Ron and Char five years ago  through the agency of my St.. James's Cambridge secretary Judy Beers. Judy knew them in Wakefield, MA.  (I often bless Judy for this introduction).  Also with us was Ron's sister Karen and her husband Den who moved to SRQ about a year ago.

This morning I had breakfast (and a long and fruitful conversation) with Tom Dillon from Pittsfield MA. Tom, a Roman Catholic, would often attend liturgies at St. Stephen's (Episcopal) Parish in Pittsfield where I was Rector.  He now has a second home here in Bradenton, FL and we try to get together when he is in the area.

This afternoon I had along Skype conversation with one of my very best friends Joe Schorge. Joe hails from Cheshire MA.  He and his parents and siblings were part of the St. Stephen's community.  Joe has lived and worked in the U.K. for many years and is now a U.K. citizen.  He and his partner Marleise have a lovely young child "Rafie".

A few days ago I had an equally long conversation with the Revd. Gwen Sears  - "Deacon par excellence". We worked together for sixteen years at St. Stephen's.

These conversations reminded me of the following:

(Source http://www.geonius.com/index.html )

Thus ended our little talk: yet it left a pleasant impression. True, the subject was strange enough; my sisters might have been shocked at it; and at my freedom in asking and giving opinions. But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one's deepest as well as one's most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. 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 then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

The words (starting with "Oh, the comfort") are often attributed to George Eliot.

In fact they are by Dinah Maria (Mulock) Craik (1826-1887).  the quote is from her novel, A Life for a Life, published in 1859,

In  the novel a woman refers to a long Sunday afternoon conversation she'd had with a male friend following Sunday morning church, at which the minister had spoken out against the death penalty.

That's the context  - a mid 19th Century woman having a a safe conversation with a man. (That makes me think that novelist Dinah Craik was bold, advanced, wise and brace for her era).

And her words are so true

Here they are in their most familiar form:

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 then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

I am grateful for the friends (those named above and others) with whom I have that comfort.


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