Sunday, January 30

A Little Help From My Friends

I don't make friends all that easily. I'm fussy, and tend to put potential friends through a series of tests first. Are the capable of holding an opinion? Can they defend their stance? Do they have the ability to question things? Do they ask lots of pointless highly judgemental questions?

Mostly I just want to see if they'll willing to let me into their mind. If they are, they are rarely dull. I'm pretty sure my tests scare many people away. Apparently most people don't like being asked probing questions about their childhood within half an hour of being introduced. I've never been sure what's so wrong about it. I mean how else do you get to know someone? But whatever it is I do, not many people stick around.

But that means the few friends I do have are extra special to me. They're people who've let me explore their inner psyche. People who aren't afraid to be themselves with me, and who I can be myself around. People who are happy to share some of their darkest thoughts with me. A friend like that is fascinating. And they help me learn more about myself, about life, and about spirituality than anything else I can imagine.

For example, every Thursday I meet up with a group of friends for a 'writer's group.' We call it a writers group but it's really an excuse to spend time together, although we may briefly discuss someones last short story if we run out of other things to talk about. And it's probably the best night of my week. For a few hours I can forget about being work Simon, or husband Simon, I can forget about trying to be clever, or being the IT geek, or even about trying to be sociable. For a few hours I'm with people who accept me as just Simon. These are people who've let in the actual Simon, and not any particular version of him. It doesn't matter If I'm tired, stressed out, or halfway through a bottle of wine, they are my friends and they'd be happy to see me. And as osly true friends can, they'd also be happy to help wake me up, cheer me up, or prise the wine bottle out of my hand.

For a few hours I can be myself and be with others feeling the same. Together, in our most natural state, we achieve more in the way of spiritual development than can be found in a whole month of church services. In those few hours we become that little bit more entwined. As we share our stories, drink our wine, and, most importantly, eat our cake, we learn a little bit more about ourselves, and about the world around us.

It's hard to feel more connected to others than where you're sat around a table so enjoying each other's company that you forget the world around you. That little circle of people becomes the world for a while.

And no matter I go home Thursday night, that little bit more energised and that little bit more aware than I was before the night began.

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