Monday, August 20, 2012

Of Friends (and Cousins)

Suppose you were befriended by a kindly person during the saddest time of your life. Would you not love that person and see his friendship as a gift from a benevolent God who saw your need and sent an angel?

I have a favorite movie in which a forlorn, unloved, and tortured young man named “Smike” is rescued from the clutches of evil people, and taken in as a brother by another young man named Nicholas. Smike, who is an orphan, suddenly enjoys the love of a family for the first time in his life. When Smike contracts tuberculosis, Nicholas takes care of him like a father, until Smike dies. Nicholas then lovingly buries him near his own father’s grave. In every way, Nicholas loved and served Smike as a beloved brother. Only later does Nicholas learn that Smike was actually his cousin. Smike’s father and Nicholas’ father were brothers. This movie, of course, is Dicken’s novel, Nicholas Nickleby.

The fact that Nicholas loved Smike so faithfully and purely was touching and inspiring. But when we learn that they are actually cousins, suddenly, something quite profound seems to have been at work. The hand of Providence brought the two young men together during a trying time in both of their lives, to be a blessing to one another, and for the purpose of reuniting and sustaining their family.

Have you ever had such an instant rapport with a new friend that you have felt to remark, “we must have known one another in the Pre-existence”? That’s how I felt about my friend, Anita, who first entered my life about thirty years ago.  A new perspective has emerged this past week on that wonderful friendship. She is my cousin. Thirty years ago, she was indeed a gift sent from God – God who cares about blessing our lives (while also uniting and reuniting and strengthening families). This week while I was working on Family History, I made the connection in my ancestry with Anita’s. Knowing now that we are family tells me that our friendship thirty years ago was indeed brought about by the hand of Providence. A smiling Providence.

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. (T.S. Eliot)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm cousins with Jeremy! :D ha ha ha! Sorry...I couldn't help myself...

That's really neat about Anita! :D