A pond occupies the center of our neighborhood, and a goose and two ducks live there. They have become, well, friends. In most places, geese hang with geese and ducks with ducks, so our pond, with an inter-species friendship going on, is a little more interesting. Continue reading
Barbara is on vacation. She went exploring along the northern California coast with two friends she has known for decades. She has been having a wonderful time, including taking a close photo of a bear near a cabin. When we talked on the phone, she was as excited about the bear as you might imagine a twelve-year-old girl scout.
I have been alone with Cicero and the rain. Since Barbara has been away, it has rained everyday. The woods, bushes and grass are growing fast enough to watch.
During working years we often do things under pressure—to provide for our families, to advance our careers or maybe to set an example for our children. But in retirement many of these obligations fade into the background. So the choices we make seem to beg for reasons.
People often idealize friendship, talking about true friends and soul mates with whom deep and lasting relations abide and in whom true sympathy resides. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that way in 1841 in an essay on “Friendship.” He describes friendship as a high-minded, God-given relationship between persons.
Writing in January on our blog, Later Living, I took a more practical tack, speaking of friendship as human companionship offering goodwill and affection; writing that friendships make people healthier and help them live longer, and that to make friends retirees need to join activities with other people.
Is Emerson’s a more helpful view—one that leads to a healthier or more fulfilling later life? Continue reading
When growing older, we encounter illness and death more frequently. We may suffer illness ourselves, but we also witness illness and death among friends. In each case we might think of ourselves as called to a ministry, and the relevant issue is how best to serve. Continue reading
Friends enlarge our lives, as we enlarge theirs. There is nothing like goodwill and affection, extended and received, to boost our spirits and encourage us forward.
Yet later life often seems marked with decreasing friendships even beyond those claimed by death or incapacity—why? Can the losses be prevented? A few practical observations about friendship may help. Continue reading