Making Friends

children eating outside as friends

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?

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Rebecca Ruiz
Rebecca Ruiz holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.A. from Tufts University. She has been trained as an Ignatian spiritual director through Fairfield University. Rebecca is on staff at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and previously served for a decade and a half at the Diocese of Arlington in refugee resettlement. She strives, as St. Ignatius taught, to see God in all things and do “all things for the greater glory of God.”

4 COMMENTS

  1. What would God and I say to each other if we were sitting across from each other for lunch? I think we would just talk about how the day was going. Perhaps, in the course of our conversation, a topic would come up that would peak both of our interests (He is fully human too) and we would talk more about that. One thing I’m sure of is that our conversation would include plenty of laughter. And there would be moments when neither of us would be saying anything, just enjoying each other’s company. And when lunch was over, both of us would know that this would be a never ending friendship. God bless you.

  2. Hi Peter,
    Thank you for your comment. Yes, it is simple, isn’t it? It’s so easy to fall into the thinking that we have to find the perfect words, or place, or time to pray. It’s enlightening to think of prayer as simply talking with a dear friend.

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