A friend recently reminded me of a quotation from the Roman orator, politician and philosopher, Cicero’s philosophical essay on Friendship. In that essay, he notes that there are many benefits of friendship, but the greatest of those benefits is that it shines a ray of hope into us and does not allow our souls to falter or grow weak.
As I read that quotation again after many years, it rings true in me. I can think of individual friends, but I find myself drawn to something else that friendships tend to imply: community. We likely all find ourselves parts of more than one community, but is it not true that friendship is what weaves us into community? Perhaps we enter a community through any variety of doors, but I suspect that what keeps us in that community or at least what brightens and strengthens us in that community are the finding and making of friends there. When that community gathers, will I see this person or that person? Once in the community the surprise of an unexpected visit from a friend–these things do brighten and even enlighten our souls, and the forward lean into them–we call that hope.
Pay tribute to hope today. Let us ponder our friendships and the communities they weave us into, and be grateful.