A spiritual friend is one to whom we can entrust all the secrets of our heart and before whom we can place all our plans. In other words, a spiritual friend offers a safe place to try things out, to stretch and to grow: we need not fear shaming or ridicule, no matter what we might say.
Trust is the foundation of spiritual friendship, and guardianship of the tongue is a primary duty. Spiritual friends do not talk idly about one another, nor do they talk idly about others. [Toward Holy Ground Spiritual Directions for the Second Half of Life by Margaret Guenther]
I am so grateful for my spiritual friends: from childhood to adulthood – from New Mexico to Colorado to Texas – and those I’ve met over the miles through correspondence.
Guenther writes that “With our growing awareness of the web of connection, intercession becomes more powerful in the second half of life. We find that the present contains the past within itself and–if we are brave–the future as well. So there is breathtaking simultaneity in our prayer.
“Those for whom we intercede may be distant from us in time and place, personally unknown to us, yet this is an intimate form of prayer. . . . It is enough simply to name the persons for whom we pray. There is always the danger of becoming prescriptive if we fill God in on their history and our perception of their needs.”
I pray for all of my friends. My friends have told and written me that they pray for me. I am so thankful for their prayers and the opportunity to pray for them.
The second half of life brings an awareness of human limitations and a willingness to relinquish control, a letting go of pettiness and fretfulness. Whenever it is achieved, whether remarkably early or just before the end, the loving detachment of the second half of life comes through faithful–and often tedious–living. Eventually, we feel as if we’ve seen everything. For the spiritually alive, the result is not jaded apathy but a calm detachment.