The ultimate touchstone is witness.

This photo above of my Book Club was taken in our home last year.  This group of friends has been together 36 years, since organizing into a book club in 1987, the year I came home from Nigeria.   Some of us had worked together at the MTC in Provo, some were college friends, some were friends of friends.  The miracle is that we came together and we stayed together and we continue on, together.

I have often thought how interesting it is that some of my dearest friends are in this group.  Or in my long-time quilting groups, or in my neighborhood.  My question is, “Are we dear because we’ve known each other for so long?” or “Are we dear because our paths were meant to cross and they did?”

My friends and I been through thick and thin together–is that what’s made us close?  Or, did some Divine Hand gather us all into like places and let us learn to love each other?

I sometimes think that if I were to have 30 years, or 40 or 50 years with anyone, I would learn to love them and we might be close friends.  We would SEE each other and be SEEN by each other.  I think about Eternity and having all the time in the world (out of the world) to learn to love others.  I have no doubt that will live in a society of Love.

I happened across this thought this week and have been thinking a lot about these words:

No matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.

~David Whyte, from the Book: Consolations – Revised edition: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words

These words describe beautifully that witness–of having been seen by someone, and being granted the sight of the essence of another.  I want to be better at this–better at seeing the essence of others.

I am so grateful for my friends.  I miss having them near.  I appreciate those who really see me, and love me still.

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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