My dear friends…

I hope and trust that your life has
been wonderful this week. Let me say that the important thing is to be
friends.

Be friends with everybody.

Be friends with
your spouse. Be friends with your children. Be friends with your
relatives. Be friends with your neighbors and your fellow workers and
your acquaintances. And yes, even be friends with your enemies.

Just…be friends.

One of the most stinging criticisms I ever
received was when someone to whom I was once married, and who I truly
and dearly loved, once said to me: "You treat your friends better than
you treat me."

I never, ever forgot that. Because I knew it was
true. It is absolutely, stunningly true that I had more
tolerance for, more patience with, more leniency regarding my friends’
behaviors than I did with the person with whom I was sharing my life.

I said things to my life partner that I would never say
to a friend. I criticized my life partner for things that I would
"let go" with a friend. I things with my life partner that I
would overlook with a friend. And I let things bother me—annoy me,
actually—that my life partner did that wouldn’t even phase me if a
friend did the exact same thing.

What is this about? I began to
wonder. Why do we so often treat those closest to us as if they were
not "close" to us at all? Is it because we know them better than we know
our friends, spending more time with them day in and day out as we do?
Could it really be true that "familiarity breeds contempt"?

No,
no…say it isn’t so! Shouldn’t familiarity breed compassion,
understanding, patience, tolerance, acceptance, and deeper and deeper
love? Shouldn’t relationship be the place of greatest safety,
not of the least?

When I was a small child (which was very,
very long ago) there was a song that was popular. Even then it was an
Oldie But Goodie, and we had an old phonograph record of it sung by the
Mills that I used to play on the family Victrola (Ha! Does
anyone even know who or what talking about here—???)

The
song was called, You Always Hurt the One You Love. And the
lyrics went something like this…if I can remember them now…

You always hurt the one you love
The one you shouldn’t hurt at
all
You always take the sweetest rose
And crush it `til the
petals fall

You always break the kindest heart
With a hasty
word you can’t recall
So if I your heart last night
It’s
because I love you most of all.

The irony of that song
sticks with me to this very day. I have come to deeply regret (and to
beg them and the forgiveness for) the many ways that I have
treated beloved others who have been close to me, and to that
one of the greatest gifts we can give to a loved one is friendship. Pure
and simple friendship. Just treat them like a Friend. Like we
would treat someone we are of losing.

So yes,
be friends with your spouse. Be friends with your children. Be friends
with your relatives. Be friends with your neighbors and your fellow
workers and your acquaintances. And yes, even be friends with your
enemies. And most of all…be friends with yourself!

That may be the hardest thing to do of all. And so we’ll take a close
look at that next week.

Love and Hugs,
Neale.
© 2009 ReCreation Foundation – http://www.cwg.org – Neale Donald
Walsch is a modern day spiritual whose words continue to touch
the world in profound ways. His With God series of
books
has been translated into 27 languages, touching millions of
lives and inspiring important changes in their day-to-day lives.