lundi, février 21, 2005

Diamond in the Rough

I remember looking at Yetispotter’s site ( and thinking in a curious manner “is this how one deals with death?” at the time of Yehuda’s death and not quite understanding... but I think now it was more healthy in a lot of ways. He wanted to honor the person, because we were friends with him, by living fully and with color and vigor. Every person does the best she/he can. Each person's values carry them on their journey through life to the successes and growth thatthey achieve. One's friends admire, are inspired by, honor and respect, and rejoice in one's successes and in one's development.

We are so limited in what we can control. Our abilities to change the world are so limited... well, as one Archbishop wrote as an epitaph for his own tombstone... “If only I had known that to change the world, my country, my neighbors, even my family, that I first had to change myself…” People can create new edifices and build things, but they often cannot change another person. Every person has free will. They can choose where they go regardless of our desires. Freedom is paramount in a being’s existence... hence, how great the paradox of the fortunate us choice! hence, how much greater we are than robots or angels, giving us options! We may choose-- we may seek goodness-- and in such choices, we have power greater than anything else created in the world.

Each human chooses many things, but what I’m thinking of tonight more than anything else.. is our choices of friendships and our choices in life. The nature of true friendship is that…X chooses to be friends with Y, because Y exhibits traits X admires. Humans are drawn to the sparks of greatness in each other. It is why each person matters and why each person is deserving of love. All the more so precious are those special people we are more strongly drawn to than the other people we meet in daily interactions. Some people tap into our core more strongly than other people and somehow we see in them something that is really special and admirable. It is not just the spark that attracts us, but the deep level of admiration, of respect, of being inspired to be better and more than we are now, and that depth of spirit and nobility which touches us and reminds us of how good it is to be human, too. Those people meet a need within me for my own standards.

Oftentimes I have felt a sense of shame over my deep desire for respect and acknowledgement from someone I admire that deeply. I can ask someone I don't have such a deep closeness to for help, because the shame doesn't burn as far down into me that I have to be weak and helpless before someone whose opinion is so valued. More often lately I’ve been working on nullifying that feeling and simply accepting that I can love people and that someone else’s opinion of me shouldn’t and doesn’t define me.

I think that essence of friendship is a comment unspoken really from one human to another that says: “Hey, My Friend, who you are (now, then and in the future) is worth my time and energy. I choose you and see in you things that you do not see, but that I recognize as great. It may be the intangibles, but it is surely that our souls recognize each other. I know we are lucky to walk together for however long we have.”

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In A Few Good Men, Demi Moore’s character says she loves the Marines because "they stand up and say nothing's going to hurt you, not on my watch" .. well that same nobility of character is something that when I see it in my friends. When one of them stands up and says, “I’m not going to sell myself short. I’m not going to let injustices that I can change stand,” I see nobility... a piece of a human’s character that makes me fall to my knees –happy, awed, shamed, hopeful, inspired, and stronger. When someone cares about the world and about people and about life, when someone stands up and pushes onwards, because that person believes in him/herself. I am in awe of that piece of nobility. Even when that person has doubts inside and falters, it is that piece of character that brings him/her time and time again back to this path, which is awesome and I am reminded…of a hard lesson to keep in mind, but one worth the repetition to learn well… that it is my honor and my privilege to be traveling this path with you, my friend.