Until Google introduced me to the idea that friends were composed of circles, the word combination of circles and friends did not go together. Circles were something used in drawings, games, or to describe something but little more. Google’s introduction changed how the word was used. It also serves as a reminder that not all friends are equal.
Life reminds me that there are endless layers of friends. Broadly speaking, there are the inner circle, good friends, and casual ones. Within the three levels are endless definitions reflecting levels that can be temporary or permanent, with individuals moving from one to another depending on their actions, my perceptions, or the arbitrary mood of the moment. At times, some individuals occupy more than one category at a time. In many ways each friend carries personal tags that help me understand how I see our relationship at any given point in time.
I have been reminded recently how precious and fragile friendship can be. Good friends are not easily replaced. Distance takes a toll. Impact also follows disagreements, dramatic events, and tragedies. Once damaged, friendships can take years and even decades to repair, if at all.
For all my words about friendship, I still find it hard to precisely define the term. At best I can illustrate pieces of it by talking about individuals and the mystery of what lies between us. I know my words are insufficient, even to myself. As I reflect, I find myself trying to understand within myself how I would describe Divinity. Regardless of my language or the angle I start with, I am at a loss. There is no fixed point, since the observation “God is well-known in Judah; in Israel, he’s a household name” (Psalm 76.1) is still playing out.
For now I loop back to tags that describe and circles that I group individuals in. I know things will change. I do wonder about God. Beyond tags of compassion, caring, and community, what else would I put on Her? What circles is He in? It matters, if only to myself.