Oratory Cheek

Speeches from the great cheeky one.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Looking towards the redemption of all creation and trying to find myself whole and moving within it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Friends: Vol. 2, When Friends Leave

Read Vol. 1: Our Circle of Friends

Calamity strikes: where'’d my "friends"” go? (Job's story.)


It is not an enemy who taunts me - I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me - I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God. (Psalm 55:12-14)

A trouble-maker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends. (Proverbs 16:28)

There are "friends"’ who destroy each other... (Proverbs 18:24a)

My relatives stay far away, and my friends have turned against me. My neighbors and my close friends are all gone... My close friends abhor me. (Job 19:13)


Job's friends just had to open their fat lips after those seven days. Always looking for an answer, not so much that Job would be made well, but so that the puzzle of Job's dilemma would be solved and they would prove themselves right. I don'’t believe that Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar were acting as true friends in this moment. They were not Jonathans, they were more common, more human, I think. Not bad people, not even necessarily wrong (although God did accuse them of darkening his counsel with foolishness), just too self-absorbed to really offer the assistance and true friendship that Job needed at this crisis of his life.

And, yes, we have friends as such. We know them. Sometimes, we are them. I know myself better than any other person on the whole planet not named "God." And I know I fall into that trap myself. I become frustrated too easily. I don’t know the best thing to do for my friends'’ benefit. It'’s like a war: what's good for him or her against what'’s easy and feels good for me. Their genuine welfare, this is my confession, oftentimes is less a concern to me than the fact that they appear to be faring well. I tend to care less about how my friends are really doing and really feeling than the fact that they not go moping around like a sad fish caught in a hook. But, that's the situation they're often in. The danger is, we believe what we perceive and we perceive what we believe. She's in a bad mood? Snap out of it! She'’s depressed? Give her some Prozac. He's distracted? Give him some Ritalin! Medicate, hide, get over your problems; – just keep them away from me.

You see, I - in this state - care more for my own perception of happiness than I do for my friend. There is no love there. Therefore, we drift apart; there's a rift, a breakup, a chasm, a great divide, a canyon cut with a razor's edge.

And darkness comes to fill the empty spaces.


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