When You Know You’ve Got Something Good: C.S. Lewis + Co. on the Beauty and Essentialness of Friendship

Friendship never belittles.
It runs in at the first sight of pain and pleasure in its members. It seeks out and dulls the slightest pangs of suffering.
It observes less of the human instinct for armour and self-protection.
It inspires perspective and growth.
It warns against hubris and judgement.
It binds together and fortifies all that is good and pure.
Friendship is a gift we all have–
to receive, to give, and to hold.

It looks like this:

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-2-03-25-pm
Henri Matisse’s The Dance

reads like this:

“Friendship”

“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles [Williams] is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s [Tolkien’s] reaction to a specifically Charles joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald… In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each of us has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah 6:3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall have.” – C.S. Lewis in describing his friendship with J.R.R> Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, and author Charles Williams.

sounds like this:

(cacophonous in composition yet utterly harmonious)


And lastly, why you and I cannot live without it:

“There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. For whom am i toiling,” he asked, and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment? This too is meaningless– a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” – The Bible, Ecclesiastes 5:12


“Lovers seek for privacy. Friends find this solitude about them, this barrier between them and the herd, whether they want it or not…

In a circle of true Friends each man is simply what he is: stands for nothing but himself. No one cares twopence about anyone else’s family, profession, class, income, race, or previous history. Of course you will get to know about most of these in the end. But casually. They will come out bit by bit, to furnish an illustration or an analogy, to serve as pegs for an anecdote; never for their own sake. That is the kingliness of Friendship. We meet like sovereign princes of independent states, abroad, on neutral ground, freed from our contexts. This love (essentially) ignores not only our physical bodies but that whole embodiment which consists of our family, job, past and connections. At home, besides being Peter or Jane, we also bear a general character; husband or wife, brother or sister, chief, colleague, or subordinate. Not among our Friends. It is an affair of disentangled, or stripped, minds. Eros will have naked bodies; Friendship naked personalities.

Hence (if you will not misunderstand me) the exquisite arbitrariness and irresponsibility of this love. I have no duty to be anyone’s Friend and no man in the world has a duty to be mine. No claims, no shadow of necessity. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis


screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-2-21-57-pm
Chen-Dao Lee’s Swan Lake // “A friend awakens your life in order to free the wild possibilities within you.” – John O’Donohue, poet and philosopher
Bises,

Soo

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