My son began attending a new school this month. As we pulled up to the front entrance, he was wondering aloud whom he would sit with at lunch. While he has a couple of friends who attend his new school, they have a different lunch schedule. He stepped out of the car—excited, hopeful, and a little apprehensive—and off he went. He’s entered that age when there’s no looking back after exiting. Gone are the days of that broad, beaming smile with hand waving high. As I drove away, I said a prayer that my son would have a good day and that he would meet new friends.
Upon exiting the school that afternoon, he was brimming with that little boy excitement of days gone by. Seemingly two inches taller, with shoulders spread wide, he rapidly approached the car trying to stifle his exuberance. Barely able to get the door closed before it spilled over, my son recounted with joy how he had met new friends, especially one boy with whom he many of the same interests—and they had the same lunch schedule!
As he was talking, I was silently thanking God for smoothing the transition for him. And I was thinking of Fr. William Barry’s words on friendship. In his book, Praying the Truth, Fr. Barry writes that God wants our friendship—he doesn’t need it—but he wants it:
God wants a personal relationship, an adult friendship, with each of us, and prayer is the best way of engaging in that friendship. By prayer I mean what occurs when I am conscious in some way of God’s presence…Prayer, as conscious relationship, is the royal road to finding God in all things and to a deeper friendship with God.
God wants our friendship. It takes a while to digest this thought, doesn’t it? The Creator of the Universe actually cares enough about each of one us to want our friendship. And prayer, Fr. Barry says, is simply sharing with God as we would with our best friend. Like any other cherished friendship, we need to make time for God and be honest, open, and authentic in our relationship. As we do this, we begin to notice and enjoy God’s presence throughout our days.
I was still wrapping my head around the profound simplicity of relationship with God that Fr. Barry proposes when my thoughts returned to my son sitting at lunch with his new friend, and I wondered, “What would I say if God were sitting across from me at lunch?”
How about you? What might you say if God were sitting across from you at lunch? What would you like to share with God? How do you think God might respond? What might God want to share with you?