encounter, friend, gratitude, presence, relationships, spiritual home, St. Barnabas, The Sophia Center for Spirituality
Commentary on this feast of St. Barnabas got me thinking today about connections. The Franciscan Media website tells us that Barnabas was “a Jew of Cyprus, as close as anyone outside the Twelve to being a full-fledged apostle.” A close associate of St. Paul, he was the one who introduced Paul to Peter and had a major role in mediating between Paul and the Jewish Christians.
Many, if not most of the people who come to the Spiritual Center in Windsor, come because of a recommendation from a friend. Often, they find a “spiritual home” here and come back eagerly the next summer to see those like-minded people with whom they continue to grow together as they are nurtured in their spiritual development. I see the same happening at the Sophia Center in the many gatherings that draw individuals of varied backgrounds. They come, perhaps, for something that sounds interesting and come back because of the people they they find in the encounter. Some relationships are instantaneous; some grow with time. Occasionally we only see a person once or twice and wonder why we miss their presence, wishing they would return.
I’ve often heard that people are in our lives for a purpose and I believe that to be true. Whether for a “chance” encounter or a lifetime relationship, the connection can be significant, even life-changing sometimes.Today’s commentary notes that in the early Church “all was not peaceful…and even the best of friends can have differences.” Surrender is a facet of any mature relationship and sometimes binds people together in ways that nothing else can.
These musings lead me to a theme for my day which will include at least three opportunities to be grateful for the people in my life – stalwart friends as well as those I do not yet know well. In between I will bless those who have taught me life lessons and have passed from this world. My gratitude list will surely be long at the end of the day…
Eva Forson said:
This piece has really touched my heart. Four days ago I lost my very best friend Felicia whom I met in 1956 through my cousin who had brought her to my father’s funeral. We instantly took to each other.and then the following year we met in secondary school at St Monica’s Convent, We went on to university together and worked in gov’t for years. . I worshiped at St Barnabas Church and in 1977 I invited her to the celebration of our patronal festival where we met our old school teacher. Her question to us was `Are you two girls still together?’ All these events happened in Ghana, West Africa where we come from.
We have been separated physically for the past forty years due to unfortunate circumstances, she lived in London, England and I live here in New York but that has not dampened our spirits. We are on the phone, writing letters or sending witty greeting cards, and we visit whenever we get the chance.
Her passing has left a hole in my heart but I will forever live with the beautiful friendship we had and I thank God for granting us this relationship. He gave her to me and I give her back to Him.
May she rest in eternal peace and may light perpetual shine on her.
What a beautiful tribute to. your friend! I am so grateful that you shared it. Having lost dear friends myself, I understand your feelings now and I will pray for you in your loss. I have no doubt that the light eternal has gathered her to God and that she will be watching over you in joy.
Kathy F. said:
I have been going to the Spiritual Center for more years than I can count (probably about 15) and it is truly my “Spiritual Home”). Every time I go it is a growth experience.
Through the Sophia Center I have frown to love Taize Prayer.
Kathy F. said:
I have been to the Sophia center a couple of times for Taize prayer. It was beautiful and simple. I loved it.
The Spiritual Center is another story. I have been going there for about 15 years and truly feel that it is my spiritual home. I have met many wonderful people, been challenged, and have grown spiritually because of my visits My experiences have been varied, challenging, and have expanded my spiritual life. I am truly grateful for both places. Lois’ blog is part of my daily reading and always gives me food for thought. I am grateful.
Eva Forson said:
Thank you very much, Sister Lois.