Tuesday, July 12, 2016

30 Before 30: Day 23 - Friends Who Disagree

When I was younger, I had this thought in my head that anyone who I was friends with should think and believe similar things to me. I think this came out of the idea that people were trying to teach me that certain people will be good influences and others negative. Instead this lead to the believe that anyone who believed something different shouldn't be my friend.

I definitely don't think this anymore.

In fact, quite the opposite. It might partially be because I'm older, but a large number of the people in my life don't believe the same thing as me and also disagree with me on a number of things.

My blog post from yesterday is just one of those things (a touchy subject I remember calling it).

I appreciate these people. Some of them are my closest friends. It doesn't mean I just change what I believe but it does open a positive discourse. And I have to be careful to make sure "discourse" is what I intend and not "argument."

I dislike arguments and often debates, as they often turn into arguments. But discourse allows for all sides to speak their thoughts and learn from one another what they think. I think this is part of being human.

Having friends in our lives who don't agree with us enriches us if we can have civil conversation.

I cherish all the people in my life who I've developed a bond of friendship with. I have friends from all different walks of life and many of them believe very different things then me. That doesn't mean I can't be friends with them.

That's ridiculous.

But it also doesn't mean I have to agree with them. And that's alright.

But I should still love them.

There are some things I can learn from them and other things they can learn from me. We all can continue to learn as we grow older. I certainly have. I've learned a lot of things, especially in these last ten years, that have made a lot more sense then they did in my teens. I had no idea what I was doing then.

Also, we can't just negate the experiences of others just because we haven't had them. Sometimes it's difficult to understand what someone has gone through just because we haven't. Sometimes people have views on things because of this. And the older we get and the more people we meet, the more experiences we understand.

We're all made up of stories. A life is a number of stories that add up to a whole. We can never know all of the stories. There are too many. But the more time we invest in people, the more stories we hear, the more we understand about the people that surround us. No one single person has the same experiences throughout an entire lifetime but there are things we share. And it's in those things we share, those commonalities, that bonds of friendship are formed.

Now, I leave you with some quotes on friendship:

“However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship.” 
― Albert Einstein

"Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit." – Aristotle

"To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it. . . . Affections and Eros were too obviously connected with our nerves, too obviously shared with the brutes. You could feel these tugging at your guts and fluttering your diaphragm. But in Friendship- in that luminous, tranquil, rational world of relationships freely chosen - you got away from all that."
-C.S. Lewis "The Four Loves"

“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.” 
― R.J. PalacioWonder

“One of the tasks of true friendship is to listen compassionately and creatively to the hidden silences. Often secrets are not revealed in words, they lie concealed in the silence between the words or in the depth of what is unsayable between two people.” 
― John O'DonohueAnam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

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