A brief thought on friendship

Whilst home on my unnecessarily long winter break (which ends with my return to classes on Monday), I noticed on my bookshelf a gift that I’d received a few Christmases past, one of which I heretofore had failed to take advantage: Jack’s Life: The Life Story of C.S. Lewis, written by the author’s stepson, Douglas Gresham. The biography made its way back to Maryland with me, and, alternating it with The Last of Mohicans, I’ve finished about half of the work. Though not always possessed of the most fluid language, and often repetitive (sometimes, I’ll note, necessarily so), Jack’s Life has proven to be a wonderfully engaging view of the personal side of the creator Narnia.

Parallel to my reading this book, I’ve realized that, for whatever reasons, despite (or, perhaps, because of?) my very conservative nature, a disproportionate number of my good friends hold political views that, at mildest, one might call liberal; many are of such a Leftist stripe as to make Ralph Nader blush. Amongst my good friends and classmates in Maryland, I find myself in quite the minority even as a theist, let alone a practicing Christian.

I certainly intend not to suggest that I am the only person in the world in such circumstances; far from it, in fact. Doubtless, many others find themselves to be the ideological minority amongst their peers and have no qualms, and manage to engage in fruitful discussion about such serious matter without resorting to anger or, worse, ad hominem attacks, the sort most likely to damage such relationships. However, a short passage, wherewith I close this post, from Jack’s Life seems to be quite poignant, particular because I came across it just as I began to contemplate the circumstances of many of my friendships.

“Now friendship in [the days of Lewis and his confidants at Oxford] was a bit different from what it is today; friends did not have to agree on everything and often agreed on practically nothing. They were people with whom you could argue all day and yet never get irritated or angry at all. In today’s world we seem to have lost the real meaning of friendship. If someone disagrees with us, it is fashionable today to dislike them for it. This is silly and robs us of the best kind of friends we could find, for if we are always agreed with, we can never really have a serious conversation; we cannot learn from someone who agrees with what we say.”

So go out and hug a liberal!

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