friends are like food

July 9, 2009 § 4 Comments

No worries, I have no intention to eat you. Or maybe I do, in another sense.

I’ve just been thinking alot about food and their nutrient content recently. I lug home encyclopaedias dealing with food home and as I flip through randomly, I read about all the different components of our food and why they’re important.

I’ve learnt that when eating food, one should try to eat a wide variety. One cannot and shouldn’t survive on fruits and nuts alone, however good they may be. While chewing on veggies and yearning for milo, I think about how vegetables may give you fibre and vitamins, but how you cannot expect the same comfort you get from chocolates. Each kind of food gives you a different combination of nutrients. Each gives a different kind of satisfaction. With veggies it’s being proud of yourself for trying to eat healthily, with milo it’s just ‘irrational’ pleasure.  

Henri Nouwen explains that each friend is unique too:

Friends and their unique gifts (Meditation for May 2)

No two friends are the same. Each has his or her own gift for us. When we expect one friend to have all we need, we will always be hyper-critical, never completely happy with what he or she does not have.

One friend may offer us affection, another may stimulate our minds, another may strengthen our souls. The more able we are to receive the different gifts our friends have to give us, the more able we will be able to offer our own unique but limited gifts. Thus friendships create a beautiful tapestry of love.

(Henri Nouwen, in “Bread for the Journey”)

There is another way friends are like food. Just as we eat food for physical nourishment, we need friends for our personal/spiritual nourishment. They comfort us when we’re down, cheer us up when we’re sad or even when we’re already quite happy, share about their lives and the lessons they learn etc. Even if you should have  irritating friends, they could be a chance to exercise patience and understanding 😡

What would a friend pyramid look like? Or maybe one cannot have a friend pyramid. Though one may like some friends more than others, and it seems some friends may help us grow more than others, each has his own unique gift unparelleled by others, so that it’s hard to rank which quality is more important to our spiritual growth. Just as a diabetic requires a different diet from someone who has heart problems, so too do each of us differ in the kinds of people we need.

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