Cultures the world over, like the ancient Greeks and Romans and the medieval Brits, have taken friendship seriously. C. S. Lewis says that some philosophers classified friendship as a virtue. Yet today, our culture places less emphasis on the importance of friendship than, say, developing business contacts, or some other casual buddy.
A true friendship is like a garden; it grows over time. I'm a very lucky person because I have a number of deep friendships, people who share some of the same interests that I have.
And with the advent of the Internet and this relatively newfangled thing called a blog, I have made friends with people I otherwise would have never gotten the opportunity to meet. People who are quite different from me, but share similar interests. I treasure my friends here for their wit, wisdom and kindness. I've learned a lot through their responses.
This kind of friendship isn't really newfangled at all. Many people who've gone before us developed friendship through correspondence, like Flannery O'Connor's friendship with Hazel Elizabeth "Betty" Hester. While Flannery and Hester eventually met a time or two, most of their friendship and intellectual discussion was conducted by letter.
Like Flannery and "Betty," sometimes the corresponding friends do get to meet. After knowing him via BreakPoint Blog for around six years, last Sunday, Gina, Anne, and I got a chance to meet LeeQuod. We talked about a wide range of topics, about shared interests; we got to know each other better.
In contemplating the delight of meeting Lee, I thought further about what the importance of the BreakPoint Blog: This is where we get to meet people, developing friendships with people who will support, admonish, advise, and entertain us as we work through our faith with fear and trembling.