Friday, June 15, 2007

Friends for the Journey

Friendship is one of my areas of interest. I would love to write (a book?!?) about it sometime. My life has been so much richer because of the friends who have been in it (okay, maybe I'll write Hallmark cards instead of a book). Friends have taught me by their example, they have encouraged me to do and be my best. I have laughed with them and occasionally I have cried with them. I have friends I see several times a week, some I talk to every day, others I email mulitiple times a day, and some with whom my communication is sporadic, but because of history, I know that they are there for me, as I am there for them.

I recently read A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle (which I never formally reviewed, but discussed here and here) and enjoyed her seemingly random observations on life and culture and family and love and books. I had never heard of Friends for the Journey until I saw it on Katrina's Spring Reading Thing list. This book is also written in the same informal deep-chat-with-a-friend style. Parts of this book are actually deep chats with a friend, since it is co-authored by Luci Shaw, poet, speaker, and one of Madeleine's closest friends. Her name was familiar to me, but I did not recall any exposure to her, and I loved her words.

The themes covered are similar to A Circle of Quiet, but all within the framework of friendship:
  • faith
  • marriage (for what is marriage, but a life shared with a friend?) and widowhood
  • death
  • keeping in touch
  • travel
This is not a "read through in one sitting" kind of book. It's a "bedside table, read a few pages at a time" kind of book. In addition to printed transcripts of conversations between Madeleine and Luci, the book contains journal excerpts from both women, poems, quotes from others, and essays. Some of the chapters are
  • Widening the Circle: The elements of friendship
  • The Family Tree: The friends who didn't choose
  • Feasts of Friendship: Love revealed
  • Hello and the Good-bye: The rhythm of presence
  • Snakes in the Garden: Jealousy, tyranny, and other risks
I am so thankful for the many friends who have accompanied me in my journey--some have walked beside me for years as I've grown and changed and others have been there only for specific portions. How much better it has been to walk alongside another than to make the journey alone!

This book is like a mirror to those like me who recognize the beauty value of a friend and would be an inspiration to those who see friendship as more of a hidden treasure--worth finding, but perhaps buried for them. Do yourself a favor and read this book. Let yourself gaze into the mirror or grab a shovel so that you can dig deep and find the treasure that is awaiting you.


Katrina said...

Yes, I really liked this one too. And you're right - you can't zip through this book. I'd read a couple pages, savor and ponder them for a while, and then pick it up again. I loved the insight into their friendship and how they maintain it, how they've worked together, and how friendship has molded their lives.

Laura said...

Hey, thanks for the comment regarding my 25 favorite ... .

My youngest daughter also just finished third grade and she's just now enjoying No Children, No Pets because I gathered a huge stack of children's fiction together to write that post. Your daughter would probably also enjoy Five Dolls in a House, The Secret Summer, The 69th Grandchild, Me and Caleb, and Dangerous Island. They all should be well within her reading range.

Yes, I've read the Penderwicks! I read it last summer at Sherry's recommendation and enjoyed it, but kept on thinking, "I wish it were a bit more like the books I read as a child." However, for a modern book I thought it was great!

Carol in Oregon said...

I loved this book, the give and take between two wonderful writers. It is special, too, because Luci Shaw was my father's favorite poet. Back when no one really knew her, he was a huge fan.

The depth of their friendship is a rare and wonderful example.

Lori said...

I love journeys of friendship - no matter how far and wide they take us. This is a beautiful post and now I really want to put that book on my list to read this year.

I'm thankful for your friendship, Jennifer.

Dianne said...

Thanks for the heads up on this one! You know my fascination with L'Engle won't let me rest until this is added to my collection!

L.L. Barkat said...

That one chapter sounds intriguing... friends who didn't choose. I guess family is a built-in possibility for friendship; yet, whether it works out that way is probably up to us.