Friendship Medicine

At the end of the daily readings today was this quote from St. Aelred of Rievaulx:

Friendship heightens the joys of prosperity and mitigates the sorrows of adversity by dividing and sharing them. Hence, the best medicine in life is a friend.

I thought I might search out a few more quotes by this saint and found this:

No medicine is more valuable, none more efficacious, none better suited to the cure of all our temporal ills than a friend to whom we may turn for consolation in time of trouble, and with whom we may share our happiness in time of joy.

During my life I have been abundantly blessed by amazing friends. These past seven months or so, I have come to recognize once again how friends uphold me in the good times and on the rough seas. As I reflect back on these months, I am humbled that relationships have taken on a deeper, more meaningful status. I cannot fully explain the generosity and vulnerability of some people in my life. I have never really been able to do so for some relationships but even more so now. I often feel unworthy of the love that is extended though I know that I too am a loyal and generous friend. The ones who have cured my ills during these months are earthly angels and great sources of Ignatian consolation–of keeping my eyes on God through their deeds and words. The best medicine has been my friends during my illness and recovery; they have been much better than any pain pill.

I am grateful for family members who have stood by me at great cost too. The journey was not an easy one and as I move to more stable ground, I know there are many thank yous left to express. I have only begun to scratch the surface of extending my gratitude. The people who have accompanied me to tests and appointments, the ones who have brought food, the pray-ers who have kept my soul surrounded, and the listeners who have not asked me to move to a safer place but allowed me to say whatever has been on my mind and heart are part of a large network that heightened the joys of prosperity and mitigated the sorrows of adversity.

The joy that is in my heart because of people who came through for me is hard to articulate. I will be forever grateful for them. I have said prayers of thanksgiving in the form of a novena for weeks. I still lift them up daily in prayer. My remarkable recovery is in part their doing. Their balm has been valuable and efficacious.

A couple of people have not done so well in the litmus paper test of adversity. I am unsure of what this means long term. This does not apply to the friends who have said that they are sorry they have not been there for me because by this admission they tell me they have been present in their hearts but they have not been able to in a more tangible way. I know that cancer scares and paralyzes people. These are not the ones I am thinking about here. I am more spending time considering the ones who always take and cannot give back. When I was well and able, I was their friend but when I faced my trials, they made a conscious decision not to be there for me. Stephanie Erickson, who I used to quote during my bereavement talks, states that grief changes your address book. I think so does adversity. People who chose not to support someone who asks for their support is a bitter and costly pill to swallow. Now that I am getting back on my feet again, I will have to consider where this type of personality will fit into my life. In thinking about them thus far, I see that the relationships bring desolation and pull me away from God. I then ask myself why I would continue them.

The fact is though that this small number cannot steal the blessings of the friends I have. The relationships that have deepened over the past few months are a pure gift. The adversity has pulled people with huge hearts towards me to minister to me. I am well aware of the fact that I feel like I have taken much more than I have given and am keeping an eye on that. I know it will be more mutual once I am in a less fragile place. I am practicing self-compassion around my self-absorption these days. I am happy to have so many to share my joys with right now.



Reflection Questions

Who is a friend who heightens the joy and mitigates the sorrows in your life?
Are there friends in your life who do not do this? What role do they play instead?


Jesus, Perfect Friend
Show us how to be like you
Ready to lay down our lives
for those in need,
desiring to share the sorrows
and embrace the joys.
Let us be good medicine
to those who need us,
healing, restoring, reviving.


About sstyves

A Canadian prairie girl rooted in Ignatian spirituality, I seek God in all things. Whether I catch a glimpse of the Divine and delight in its presence in nature or in the beauty of an encounter with someone, I am ever so grateful that I can recognize the Creator. I greet each new day with hope and happiness, expecting blessings and miracles because I am created to praise, love and serve God. This blog is one way of realizing that through my writings, prayers, and photography. To God be the Glory!
This entry was posted in #CancerSurvivor, #Consolation, #Desolation, #Miracles, #prayer, Catholic, Christian, Faith, Ignatian, Spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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