Praying for a friend?
A friend told me not long ago that he was praying to find a good friend - or just any friend. He's SSA and strives to live a chaste, celibate life - and it gets lonely and boring at times. All single men and women know how that goes.
Anyway, he prayed and evidently God listened. A man from the Men's Club at his parish came up and asked him to join. Some other guy may have come along as well - I can't recall the details. Long story short - he wasn't sure he'd be a good fit for the Men's Club, and the other guy - wasn't a good fit... maybe even not his 'type'. Long story short - he felt he might not fit in, or feared he wouldn't be accepted - and I'm just guessing here - when they realized he was SSA, they might reject him or keep him at arms length. (I may be reading too much into it - maybe not.)
I told my friend that I know the feeling. I was just like that. I prayed so often for a good friend, who understood and accepted me - someone simpatico. Someone who would accept me just as I am and could be a good prayer buddy, a BFF. I surveyed the landscape, looking for a healthy, balanced, normal friend to hang out with, to be a support to live chastely, and so on.
Just like my friend, God sent along some really great guys to hang out with. But they weren't the type of friends I expected. This guy was too old, that guy too simple. This guy was really conservative, that guy too liberal. One guy was a recovering alcoholic - that couldn't work out well if I wanted to stop someplace for a drink. Another guy wasn't very sophisticated, not very cool, you know ...
Years ago I was invited to be part of the Young Adults Group - but I didn't think I'd fit in. A few years later a guy asked me if I'd like to join the Men's Club. Again, it just wasn't a good fit, you know what I'm saying?
What I figured out later, and tried to explain to my friend, God sent the friends - and ample opportunities for friendship and even 'community'. I just didn't accept the opportunities God provided. They didn't meet my standards.
Joey and Ross nap - "Friends"
So what did I want?
Just a buddy. Maybe someone just like me. A friend to hang out with, meet after Mass, maybe get together for a few drinks - maybe go out night clubbing once in awhile ... Someone who looked like an Abercrombie and Fitch model maybe? Polo would do. Know what I'm saying?
I know it now - but I wouldn't admit it then. As they say, if I knew then what I know now... if I could turn back time.
So maybe my friend, who feels like 'friendless in Seattle', really has the opportunity to have a good friend, but the candidates just don't suit him? It doesn't mean God didn't send them. I think he knows that. It's how 'we' grow - we have to go through this stuff, you know?
The following is a story from the Desert Fathers which may help explain more simply what I've tried to say here:
A brother said to great hermit, 'Abba, I want to find a monk who agrees with me and I'll live and die with him.' The Abba said, 'Your search is good, my lord.' The brother repeated what he wanted, not understanding the irony of the hermit. But when the hermit saw that he really thought this was a good idea, he said to him, 'If you find a monk after your own heart, do you plan to live with him?' The brother said, 'Yes, of course I want this, if I can find one who agrees with me.' Then the hermit said to him, 'You do not want to follow the will of anyone, you want to follow your own will, and that is why you will be at peace with him.' Then the brother saw the sense of what he said, and prostrated himself in penitence, saying, 'Forgive me, I was very proud of myself, I though I was saying something good, when in fact there was nothing good about it at all.' - The Desert Fathers on Discretion
Song for this post here.