Thursday, August 28, 2008


I had a really rough week last week, and by Sunday evening, I was completely broken-hearted. I called my dear friend Priscilla and said, "Do you have time to talk?" She said, "How about I come over right now?"

After our visit, I remembered this excerpt on friendship. Having an "achieved friend" truly is a kiss from God!

An achieved friend, a friend of the heart, is one who perceives me as one of the better versions of myself, who has troubled to map the oddities of my mind’s geography, as I have of his. We have found the way past the blind alleys and the detours to the side roads where sometimes the music plays. We make good music, this friend and I, and we make good silences, too. Talk we can take or leave. As for politeness, we don’t confuse it with generosity. My friend will tell me to get some new rims for my glasses at once, to stop yearning after someone who doesn’t deserve me, but that even though I have wasted the last eighteen weeks of my life on a pointless and stupid endeavor, even considering my egregious imperfections, there still is hope….

My friend and I phone each other earlier and later than we would dare to bother others…. We travel together, too, when we can…. Anywhere, just so we can gather, hone, and compare our reactions. Coming and going we absorb each other’s histories: who brought us up, who taught us, where we were when the shots were fired, when the bombs fell, when the lights went out, what used to scare us and what still does.

…Wishing to be friends, as Aristotle wrote, is quick work, but friendship is a slowly ripening fruit. An ancient proverb he quotes in Ethics had it that you cannot know a man until you and he together have eaten a peck of salt. Now a peck, a quarter of a bushel, is quite a lot of salt – more salt, perhaps, than most pairs of people ever have occasion to share. We try, though. My friend and I break bread and pass salt together as often and at as many tables as we can. Between-times we see each other at our ugliest, forgive each other our falls from grace, make each other laugh aloud, and steer each other through enough seasons and weathers so that sooner or later it crosses our minds that one of us, God knows which or with what sorrow, must one day mourn the other.

~ from Families by Jane Howard (p. 237-238)


Dalton Gang said...

Sorry you had such a rough week! Glad that you had a close friend to talk to!

DWR said...

This is that quote I was trying to remember about the peck of salt. Fortunately, I found it doing a Google search!