Sunday, February 6, 2011

In Praise of Friendship

I haven’t been around much lately, mostly because I’ve been off dealing with Life, running around in between snowstorms, trying to time it so that I’m home when the snow is blowing, and getting my errands done when the roads are clear and relatively dry. Dealing with Life can be pretty draining, and such was the case one night last week. I’d attended a class at the Y that afternoon, and during class we had a 20-minute demonstration of how to use the spin bikes there.

I hadn’t been on a bike of any sort in years, and while I thought my legs were in pretty good shape from my walking and Qigong classes, they didn’t hold up all that well during the demonstration. (I found out afterward I’d put my feet too far into the stirrups, which is what caused the awful cramping I got while pedaling).

Anyway, I got off the bike on legs that hurt and felt like rubber, hobbled around the track a few times, then decided that was not going to work. But I knew that to sit down and rest would only stiffen things up, so I went grocery shopping. A monster storm was due to blow into town, and we didn’t have any interesting food in the house.

After an hour and a half of reading labels and shopping, I came home and put the groceries away and started dinner. Suddenly it was time to leave home for another class, but that was the last thing I wanted to do. I’d been on the go nonstop for four hours, felt sore and exhausted, and wanted nothing more than to just stay home and relax.

But a friend and I had agreed to attend a series of talks on the Book of Exodus at our church, and it was my turn to drive, so off to class I would go. I picked her up and we headed toward the church, and just as we were walking inside, I said, “This is the last thing I feel like doing right now. I so wanted to call you and say let’s just forget about it tonight.” And she said, “Me, too! If you’d called and said you couldn’t make it, I would have been happy just to stay at home.”

So we walked into the class laughing, because neither of us really felt like being there, but both of us were there because we didn’t want to disappoint the other person.

The class was awesome. Incredible. We learned so much about the origins of our faith, about how relevant the readings in the Book of Exodus are to our lives right here and now—today--in the midst of all our day-to-day busyness, and came out of there with a whole new appreciation for the seemingly routine traditions our faith practices weekly at Mass.

What can I say but it was eye-opening in the extreme. Thanks for that go to another friend, who is giving the class, and has an understanding of The Bible that is nothing short of phenomenal. My attendee friend and I practically floated out of there on a new wave of energy and understanding, and then had another laugh about not wanting to go, and what we would have missed if not for two friends not wanting to let each other down.

It really does make a difference when you have someone to do almost anything with, be it attend a class, lose weight, change your eating habits, tackle a home improvement project, go on a trip, perform a community service. Not only do you reap the benefits of success, but it’s just plain fun having someone there beside you, whether you feel like doing what you agreed to do or not. Especially when you don’t feel like doing what you signed up for.

Somehow, when a friend is involved, you try harder than you would if it were entirely up to you.

I’m so glad we’re experiencing this class together, and when the time rolls around again, no matter how exhausted I might feel, I look forward to once again going to class, soaking up the history and wisdom in Exodus, and coming out energized with a new understanding of my faith and the rich and deeply rooted traditions behind it.

But better yet, my friend and I will each have someone to share our new knowledge and insights with--and that’s what deepens a friendship.

Is there something you can do with a friend this week? Something you wouldn’t ordinarily do? Try it and see what happens.

1 comment:

Pamela said...

Great story! Last week, a friend asked me if I would come with her to an AA meeting. It was at 8pm on weeknight and I really didn't feel like it. But it was important to her, she was going to "share her story" and she wanted me to hear it.So even though I didn't want to go out, I did and was so glad after. Not only did I hear my friend's story, as she told it publicly and bravely, but I also got to hear another woman's story of how she battled back against hopelessness.
I was so moved by the whole thing, and the tremendous fellowship and love in the room, you can be sure I was glad I had gone.