A Few Hours of Forever with a Friend

Marvin, one of my longest-lived friends (we’ve known each other for over 60 years), came for a visit. We hadn’t seen each other for some time. Only recently, had we talked by phone; and that, intermittently.

In either case, his visit and our sporadic conversations, it was his impetus that made it happen. I love Marvin. I like Marvin. Marvin loves and likes me. Yet I realize that I am not the best of friends.

Humans are complex creatures. As much as we may know about ourselves, there is more, I believe, that resides in the unconscious realm; thus, beyond the ready reach of our reasoned recognition.

So, too, for me. Still, one thing, I think I know…

It’s taken years for me to discern – looking at myself through the lenses of intense periods of therapy, moments of penetrating spiritual discernment, daily prayer and nakedly vulnerable introspection, and cleaving to the oft gently, but no less pointedly shared insightful judgments of those closest to me – that I, among many things, am “a professional extrovert.” In my vocational life, I am gregariously engaged with others. And, yes, my interactions are wholly sincere, yet my truest self finds fullest expression in times of solitude and silence. If there is a biblical personage with whom I most identify, it is Nathanael; who, before Jesus called him, sat under a fig tree, a place of quiet reflection.[1]

Regarding my personal relationships, in a word, I can reach back, but I tend not to reach out.

Marvin came for a visit. Our few hours together – sharing age-old, aye, ageless memories, understanding wordless nods, raucous breathless laughter – constituted a “thin place” of Celtic Christian legend where the veil between the earthly and the heavenly, the human and the holy is lifted; where we, Marvin and I, could behold each other as we always are, always have been, and always will be: loved and accepted just as we are.

Thank God. Thank you, Marvin. Thank God for you.

© 2021 PRA

#relationships #beingloveandaccepted #justasweare #celticthinspace #professionalextroversion #nathanaelandthefigtree

[1] See John 1.43-51

3 thoughts on “A Few Hours of Forever with a Friend

  1. Dear Paul, I consider this post a precious gift today. That you have taken the time to share about this nearly life-long friendship, its nature, and your own nature, which so many times seems to track uncannily with my own, is something I had no right to expect to be given, but I am so glad you offered it. I can now picture you and Marvin and your reunion and understand something at the core of you and of your and Marvin’s friendship. The amazing final gift of this post is your statement that you and Marvin “could behold each other as we always are, always have been, and always will be: loved and accepted just as we are,” a reflection in a discreet human relationship of the Divine love God has/is with all of Creation, down to the very smallest bit.

    I say with you and to you: Thank God. Thank you, Marvin. Thank you, my dear brother Paul.

    With much love,



    1. Thank you, Karen, for your word, your blessed, sacred word of affirmation, which I receive with the tears of gladness!

      When the thought stirred in my heart (or was it the emotion that moved my mind?) to write this post, I had no sure sense of how it…I would end. Thus, as I reflect, I arrived at this place of gratitude to God, to Marvin, and to God for Marvin precisely because of my re-discovery, via the lens of our relationship, who and what God is and, therefore, who and what Marvin and I are as reflection of the imago Dei: Love and Accepted.

      I am so deeply grateful, beyond the power of words to tell!



  2. Paul,

    When I saw the photo on Facebook of you and Marvin I smiled and smiled! It was just such a warm and engaging photo! It struck me right away how long 60 years really is and how Blessed you are to have had a friend for that long…. And not only length of time but also depth of feelings…..I LOVE that you can both LOVE each other as you are… some people spend so much time trying to change their friends that it hurts the relationship and they lose so much. Through six decades of disconnection and reconnection you and Marvin have managed to pick up from right where you left off. Bravo to you both!! I hope you get to spend another few hours together in the next decade too!



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