I is for the Inklings.
Ralph Wood, in his first talk at Laity Lodge, spoke about the Inklings, that group of men who met in an English pub to discuss life and literature, and whose best-known members were C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.
I scribbled in my notes, “Friendship is the only love that when divided is not diminished,” and looked for the “real” quote later. I found it, in C. S. Lewis’ book, The Four Loves,
“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets… Hence true Friendship is the least jealous of loves. Two friends delight to be joined by a third, and three by a fourth, if only the newcomer is qualified to become a real friend. They can then say, as the blessed souls say in Dante, ‘Here comes one who will augment our loves.’ For in this love ‘to divide is not to take away.”
Several years ago, when my life journey had taken a steep uphill turn, I summoned a group of Friendlings. We didn’t meet in a pub, but rather, through the magic of the interwebs, through social media and email.
Dr. Wood told us that The Lord of the Rings would not have happened without the constant encouragement of C. S. Lewis. Sometimes I wonder how I would have fared without the constant encouragement of my Friendlings.
Like the Inklings, mine has been a group with some fluidity, but also with some mainstays. With them, I have not only shared the trials in my life, but also my joys and the mundane. They share the same with me.
Each of them brings a different perspective, but that only enriches me all the more.
They staunchly stand beside me when I am at my weakest.
They know me at my ugliest and still love me.
In turn, they have shared their sunshine and their dark times with me.
“I’m hurting today,” one might say, and I will stop what I am doing to pray and to reach out across hundred of miles to tell her that I love her.
Friendlings have been a safe place to share and to listen.
Dr. Wood said that we are all Inklings.
Some of us may not be literary types, with ink stains on our fingers, but I daresay we all have the capacity to love and be loved.
Everyone can wear some friend-stains on their heart.